Monday 24 January 2011

Green Tax - Part One

It's that time of year again. The time when the Council's bill for the allotment rent lands on the doormat. It is made up of two parts the annual rental and the Allotment Association sub (currently £2.50) There will be no surprise about the rental £67.50 bringing up a round £70.00 total.

Five years ago it was £30.00 in total so it has risen steeply.

Worse still the rate for the next 3 years has already been set:

That's up £10 each year. The red line is our rent (excluding the Allotment Society sub). The green line is what our rent would have been if it had tracked the Retail Price Index, which is the accepted measure of inflation. As time goes on the divergence is getting dramatically wider. The RPI for future years is, of course, unknown but out rent increase has been fixed.

One of the most painfull aspects of this is that the Allotment Association (FEDAGA - full name Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotment and Gardeners Association) to whom we pay the annual the £2.50 membership subscription is said to have agreed to this on our behalf. Indeed the Show Secretary no less drafted the proposal and declared it passed by the Committee at the AGM which he chaired. I went to the AGM this year as a site representative but too late for any consideration of rent which had already been rubber stamped by the appropriate Council Committee, declaring full support from Edinburgh Allotment holders.

The upshot of this unhappy tale is that any benefit of having an allotment is going to be counterbalanced by the extra tax the Council is charging. Our green tax, instead of encouraging good ecological practice in the city's diminishing allotment plots, raises more money for the Council bureaucrats.

Perhaps I should mention here that non waged plot holders get a 50% reduction so will be paying £50 at the end of the term. Not much leeway for the necessary outlay required to set up and stock an allotment. In my next post I'll have a detailed look at this aspect of running a plot on a budget.


  1. Wow..that us hugely expensive...We pay about £20 total per year....I thought all allotments were cheap...and to be fair I would probably stillpay if our rent was that high but it must be sickening for you to find ouy mine is so cheap...maybe it's due to the village parish council setting our rates...we don't pay until march so I have no idea of increase yet but I will let you know...would also be interesting to find out what others pay...and also how much land they get for this.

  2. I had no idea you had to pay for your allotments, and the prices you give seem very harsh. I read an article yesterday about the greening of London, and that in the lead up to the Olympic Games the government is encouraging green spaces, using up rooftops etc, and vegetable plots in order to show off "sustainable London".

    The article didn't say anything about charging an arm and a leg for sustainable London though.

  3. Tany, I think you will be nearer the UK average, but local authorities tend to follow the same fashions, so watch out!

    Ali, There's a whole green spin industry. The roofs are in favour because the developers get their building rights but there is a green space gain on 'brownfield' sites! Win Win! Edinburgh is proud of being Green too (our Council's newbuild headquarters has a much publicised green roof) but the developers are still chipping away at every green space, even now after the house price slump. During the boom years allotments and playing fields were concreted over.

  4. Ouch! I think I pay £33 for my plot, half of that is the water charge. Although we do pay a fiver for the Allotment Association fee - which is probably my fault, so let's not go there ;>)

  5. We don't have here organized allotments that people could rent. But there are areas (probalby land that is state owned) where nothing is being built, so people are using this for their allotments. it is all illegal, but nobody minds.
    I don't think that anyone would pay here for an allotment.

  6. Our rental is about the same as yours Mal - although it could go up this year I suppose. That includes £10 water rate.

    It's the variation across the country that annoys me - I know of some areas where they only pay a nominal amount.

  7. Maybe I'm mad, but I think that's hellish cheap. I'd gladly pay twice that if I could get a bit of land. Despite being sourrounded by fields and unused council land, we have no allotments at all!

  8. I can't believe the year on year increases, looks excessive to be paying £70 when you should be around the £40 mark.

  9. Sue - Do keep me posted!

    Mojo - Thanks for explaining. Railway land near me was used in this way but the railway company noticed and demanded a high rent. Now there is a lock on the gate and the land has returned to weeds.

    Iggy - There is in theory a stautory right responsibility of your local authority to provide allotments. Try this link for the legal position. See para "General"

    Damo. Yes - Clearly we look like an easy target.

  10. Rob, Clearly your fiver is a fiver well spent. I only get annoyed when i pay a sub and then the recipient fails to look after my interest! (A bit like voting in a general election?)