CPRE Publish Report on Local Food Webs


 major new national report finds that despite their critical importance to the health of our high streets, local economies and much loved landscapes, local food networks are under-recognised and poorly supported. 

The report is the culmination of a 5-year research project ‘Mapping Local Food Webs,’ supported by the Big Lottery Fund [1]. It demonstrates that local food offers a great opportunity to support vibrant town centres and countryside, but that its role is undermined by the dominance of superstores and the multiple retailers. The report presents a fundamental challenge to superstores and the damage they are doing to local food webs.

Graeme Willis, Senior Food Campaigner for CPRE, says: “In setting out to map local food webs we hoped to measure the fantastic contributions these networks make. We achieved just that, finding great examples of local food webs helping to buck national trends of high street decline.

“But we have also found that the rise of out-of-town supermarkets and insufficient leadership from Government over many years have left many local food webs under siege. Action must be taken to support them, and revitalise our high streets and local economies.”

Download the full report (http://bit.ly/KVMQgN), key local food facts (http://bit.ly/LajIRR), and see all the local food maps generated by the research (http://bit.ly/Ke5UZU).

The report: ‘From field to fork: The value of England’s local food webs’, found that across England local food outlets serve an estimated 16.3 million customers a week and that local food sales through independent outlets are worth  £2.7 billion a year to the economy [2]. These food outlets support over 100,000 jobs (FT and PT), of which over 61,000 are attributable directly to local food sales [3].

CPRE has gathered a number of case studies that show the tremendous contribution local food can make to local communities: http://bit.ly/KOK79d 

Graeme Willis continued: “Local food webs are essential to the character and attractiveness of towns and countryside across England. With around 50p in every £1 we spend in shops spent on food [4], it is a tremendous opportunity for businesses, from farms to retailers of all sizes, to engage shoppers in making a difference to the quality of their local area.”

The research looked at 19 locations across England and identified over 2,500 local food businesses (800+ outlets and 1700+ producers). The CPRE report shows how local food webs support diversity, distinctiveness and innovation in the food and farming sectors, broaden choice for shoppers, promote seasonality, reduce food miles and shape the character of towns and countryside.

But these local food webs are under threat. The large weekly supermarket shop has increasingly displaced food from marketplaces and town centres and weakened or closed vital outlets for local food. Notwithstanding the value of local food, CPRE found that national supermarket chains dominated grocery spending, accounting for 77 per cent of all main shopping trips in the locations studied [5].

As supermarket chains have expanded their share of the market, their stores have grown in size and have moved out of town: from just under 300 superstores and hypermarkets in 1980 to 1,500 by 2007 [6]. The number is still growing : by late 2011, applications had been submitted or permission granted for a reported 44 million square feet of new supermarket development, equivalent to 572 football fields, 80 per cent of it out-of-town [7].

This growth has weakened town centres and the rich variety of food stores that supported them as shopping destinations. There has been a collapse in traditional specialist food stores, such as butchers and greengrocers, from around 120,000 in the 1950s to 18,000 in the late 2000s [8]. Town centre vacancy rates now average 14 per cent and can be as high as 30 per cent [9].

The effect on jobs can be severe: in 1998 the National Retail Planning Forum examined the effects on employment following the opening of 93 edge-of-town supermarkets and found a net average loss of 276 jobs in each area [10].

CPRE’s research found that, more than any other factor, the presence of large food stores, particularly out of town, and the absence of smaller independent outlets, are the decisive factors in the strength of any local food web. The charity will be making a new toolkit available for local campaigners to explore the benefits of and challenges their local food web faces, including the impact of new superstores [11]. The first group to do this has already started in Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire.[12]

Graeme Willis continued: “Our research shows that the presence of supermarkets is not an insurmountable obstacle to vibrant local food networks – but their number, scale and location is critical. Moderately sized supermarkets, well- located and well-connected with town centres, can draw shoppers and support a centre’s overall vibrancy and attractiveness. However, if local food networks are to thrive, they need sustained support from individuals, the community, business and policy-makers locally and nationally.”

Building on the huge amount of new data gathered in this report, CPRE is pressing for much more to be done to support local food networks and grow the economic, social and environmental benefits they bring. In particular, CPRE recommends:

  • Government should re-examine competition policy to support retail diversity and the ability of new local food entrepreneurs to enter the market; develop national planning policy guidance to provide stronger support for a sustainable food system; improve the ability of the planning system to ensure the vitality of town centres, as Mary Portas recommended in her recent high street review; and provide strong leadership on sustainable food procurement.
  • Local authorities and other public bodies should form partnerships to develop food strategies and action plans; local planning authorities should update their local plans and include policies to support local food webs.
  • Businesses should work together to promote awareness, access, affordability and availability of local food.
  • Supermarket chains should set themselves demanding targets for stocking and selling local food in ways which reinforce consumer awareness and trust.
  • Community groups should develop and engage in initiatives to shape their local food networks – case studies in the report and CPRE’s local food web mapping toolkit offer a range of ideas on this.
  • And every one of us can support local food through our shopping choices, asking questions about where food comes from, and how it is produced. Many shoppers interviewed were able to source around 30% of their food from within 30 miles: we recommend people try a 30:30 diet for a month and find out more about their local food.

[1] Mapping Local Food Webs is a national project led by CPRE, supported by Sustain, and funded from 2007 to 2012 by the Big Lottery through the Making Local Food Work programme. The project has engaged people in researching their own local food web in up to three towns and cities in each of the eight English regions. Aided by 260 local volunteers, CPRE has been working to map the food webs around 19 towns and cities across England. 11 location reports have already been launched. A further 8 reports are being launched during 2012.
[2] CPRE, ‘From field to fork: The value of England’s local food webs’, 11 June 2012, http://bit.ly/KVMQgN
[3] see 2, page 37
[4] see 2, Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), 2012, UK Grocery retailing, 17 April http://www.igd.com/index.asp?id=1&fid=1&sid=7&tid=26&cid=94
[5] see 2, page 38; survey of 1500+= shoppers across 13 locations [7] see 2, page 12 And endnote 22
[6] see 2, page 12 and endnote 25
[7] see 2, page 22 and endnote 91
[8] see 2, page 13 see endnote 31
[9] see 2, page 13
[10] See page 38 and endnote 139; The results showed that over a four-year period, there had been a net loss of 276 jobs in a 10-mile radius of each of the supermarkets, equivalent to a national total loss of over 25,000 jobs. This study did not include florists, clothes shops and newsagents, suggesting far greater actual jobs losses.
[11] MLFW Toolkit
[12] See BBC News report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-18159555

Hull Core Strategy Examination Explorary Meeting Thursday- +20% buffer ‘Significant Concerns’ #NPPF

The Hull CS Em is this Thursday 14th June.

The Inspector has ‘significant concerns’ in light of NPPF and localism Act letter 4th May.

On the Duty to Cooperate

Amended section 20(7B) of the 2004 Act establishes that the duty to cooperate imposed by amended section 33A is incapable of modification by me at this Examination. Therefore, this is one of the first things that I have to
examine because if the legal requirement is not fulfilled then I have no choice other than to recommend non-adoption of the CS.

I am now requesting the Council to produce a supporting paper on how it has satisfied the legal duty to co-operate during the preparation of the CS, and I will consider this before making any judgement on this matter.

On Housing Supply

Policy CS1 says that Hull should deliver a net addition of 17,000 dwellings by 2028. This exceeds the RS expectations.
On the whole, the evidence produced does not give the impression of significant housing delivery in Hull. Paragraph 3.1 of the new SHLAA appears to recognise this general point. In this context, and taking account of the level of demolitions involved over the plan period, what evidence is there to suggest that 17,000 net additional dwellings is a realistic prospect?

There are also maths issues and an issue re windfalls.

New paragraph 3.23 concedes that the 16,500 figure noted above does not take account of planned  demolitions, which could reach 2,400, such that the CS does not account for approximately 3,000 dwellings over the plan period….

Paragraph 3.23 explains that there are other sources to address this shortfall. It says that analysis of delivery demonstrates potential for 900 dwellings to come from small sites and conversions, and that there is potential for vacancy reduction to contribute – the CS aims for 1,500 dwellings to be brought back into use. It seems to me that such sites are windfall sites. If so, 3,000 of the 17,000 new homes planned for are anticipated to be delivered from a windfall source….

Paragraph 48 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) permits an allowance for windfall sites in the five-year supply if there is compelling evidence that such sites have consistently become available and will continue to provide a reliable source of supply. The new SHLAA includes a windfall allowance of 50 dwellings per year for each year in the plan period. What compelling evidence is relied on to justify this?

The above could be considered arithmetical tidying up addressable through changes but the conclusions on the SHLAA are more devastating.

The new SHLAA appears to rely on evidence not include within its covers. For example, it does not include: a list of the sites involved; their status in terms of Stage 2 of the assessment; the results for each in relation to Stage 3
(particularly in relation to constraints); at Stage 6, which method for estimating the potential was used for each site and the results for each etc. This evidence should be made available for the examination, either in the SHLAA itself or
though some other means readily accessible to me and participants.

The new SHLAA includes a trajectory. This covers the period 2012/13 to 2026/27. Why does it not include 2028, to cover the whole plan period?

This trajectory is different to those in both the original SHLAA (2009) and, more importantly, that proposed for inclusion in the CS. What is the explanation for this?

Which trajectory reflects the way in which the Council actually anticipates housing to be delivered over the plan period? What evidence is there to support the preferred trajectory? What evidence is there to support the trajectory proposed for inclusion in the CS itself?

The reason for some of the jiggery pokery becomes apparent, the ‘evidence base’ has been adjusted to avoid the +20%

Paragraph 47 of the NPPF requires that a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide five years worth of housing against housing requirements be identified, with an additional buffer of 5% (moved forward from later in the plan period) to ensure choice and competition. A 20% buffer is required where there has been a record of persistent under delivery. The new SHLAA concedes that this should apply in this case.

The original SHLAA (2009) concluded that Hull did not have a five year supply of land for housing at that time….

The new SHLAA takes a different approach. According to paragraph 3.2, it measures the deliverable supply against the trajectory proposed for inclusion in the CS. What is the justification for this change in approach to measuring the 5 year supply? Again, what evidence is there to justify the trajectory in the CS?

Policy CS1 (and Policy CS3) relate to net additional dwellings. So far as I can see, the trajectory in the new SHLAA does not take account of demolitions. I understand that the previous SHLAA (2009), notably from its paragraph 4.32 and its trajectory, did take demolitions into account when considering the question of the five year supply. What is the justification for this change in approach? How would including demolitions effect the trajectory and the five year supply?

The inspector was also concerned that the GT policy was unsound as it did not commit to allocation and as the GTAA does not cover the full plan period.

Finally the inspector raised whether a requirement for lifetime homes standard had been viability tested.

‘Spailout’ lasts a few Hours as Yields on Spanish and Italian Bonds Sore

The spailout has lasted but a few hours as the markets realise as Joesph Stiglitz has said today the Spnaish Bailout is a con with the Spanish government underwriting loans to insolvent spanish banks and those banks underwriting spanish Bonds, the insolvent is propping up the insolvent.  Spanish yields now rising back above 6.5%

All the Spailout has done is shift the crisis to Italy as it now has to underwrite a significant part of the expanded ESM – Italian Yields this morning rising to above 6%.

If Italy topples so then will Spain, and through bank contagion Germany.

Why Civil Servants Were Right to Insist on Consultation on a 3rd Heathrow Runway

Civil Servants seem to be getting a kicking from Conservatives at the moment.  Both from number 10 and influential backbenchers such as Douglas Carswell who want to see an insurrectionary style overthrow of power away from civil servants.  (by the way Douglas this Blog is heading to exceed your monthly hit rate within the next few weeks and I am not even a MP).

Civil servants however primarily raise concerns because policy proposed has no evidence to back it up, would be impractical in implementation or would be illegal and bound to be overturned at some point in the courts.  The real danger is replacement of a fiercely non partisan corps of public servants with a tribe of yes people who would stumble from one policy omnishambles to another.

One good example of this is the forthcoming airports White Paper.  With a third runway ruled out in the coalition agreement Ministers were furious that Civil servants strongly recommended that it e included as an option.  It now appears that this will be an option.


The government will not block BAA from submitting proposals for a third Heathrow runway in a forthcoming revamp of policy on aviation hubs, in a move that heads off the threat of legal action by the airport owner.

A senior representative of the London mayor, Boris Johnson, said the government would allow BAA to push for expansion of Britain’s largest airport. Daniel Moylan, the mayor’s aviation policy chief, said it did not mean a third runway was back on the government’s policy agenda.

“Boris Johnson understands that for legal reasons the government is going to have to allow examination of every option. But this should not be taken as expressing a preference for a third runway,” said Moylan….

The government is launching two aviation documents in July: a consultation on a “sustainable aviation framework”; and a request for options on maintaining airport hubs in the UK. If BAA lobbies for a third runway through the latter, according to one industry source, the government could use the principles established in the sustainable aviation study to rule it out emphatically or resurrect it.

“If a third runway at Heathrow can meet requirements for a sustainable aviation policy, it will be sifted through for consideration. If it cannot, it will be sifted out. That is a robust and entirely legal position to take,” said the source.

A senior aviation industry source said the options document would allow for a third runway submission, amid speculation that BAA will seek a judicial review if it is barred from submitting an argument for expansion. “The document will be carefully worded so as not to exclude any potential options for increasing hub airport capacity,” said the source.

The Department for Transport said the government remained against a third runway. “The coalition’s position regarding Heathrow has not changed,” it said.

The legal position is very clear and simple.  The EU SEA directive requires evaluation and ‘early consultation on ‘reasonable alternative options’ for strategies leading to development consents.  The previous government had been stung before on not including expansion of Gatwick in a previous airports white paper.  Im sure civil servants would also have been brefing ministers of the implications of the key case on consultation on National Policy Greenpeace v DTI  that you can’t be seen to have made your mind up before the consultation has even begun.

Fiona Reynolds – Time to Bring Back Beauty into Planning

Telegraph – here, here, and not just rural landscapes.  It is Britains distinct contribution to thinking about landscapes (rural and urban) to introduce the concept of the picturesque.

Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, agreed that countryside is more under threat than ever due to housing pressure.

She called for the idea of ‘beauty’ to be brought back into public planning discourse around the countryside, as it is so important for the physical and mental health of the nation.

She said planning authorities must take more account of the ‘beauty’ of the landscape in the new local plans, drawn up to determine future development of each area under the new rules.

“The idea of beauty needs to be revived in planning,” she said. “We would like to see beauty recognised in policy and practice.”

Notorious Troubled Family Abandon Daughter in Pub

A notorious troubled family with a history of busting up pubs and restaurant and squatting without paying rent in government owned properties abandoned their daughter after sunday lunch at the Plough Inn at Cadsden in Buckinghamshire.

Insp Knacker of the Yard after questioning Mr and Mrs D Cameron of Chipping Norton said ‘we had received instructions from Eric Pickles to crack down on 120,000 troubled families, unfortunately we did not realise there was no evidence of how many of these cause trouble, they were simply poor.  Mr Cameron explained he had a few bob so we released him.  He promised in future he will learn to count to three.”

“consistent misrepresentation and misuse” of data by Housing Minister Grant Shapps #NPPF #UKnousing

BBC News

Labour has written to the UK Statistics Authority to complain at “consistent misrepresentation and misuse” of data by Housing Minister Grant Shapps.

Shadow housing minister Jack Dromey set out six issues in a letter to authority chairman Andrew Dilnot.

These figures range from the supply of homes to the number of rough sleepers.

Mr Shapps said Mr Dromey had ignored the Labour government’s “catastrophic” record which saw house building fall to its lowest level since the 1920s.

Mr Dilnot’s predecessor has admitted that the authority was concerned about a “lack of coherence and clarity” in the presentation of housing figures.

Mr Dromey said he believed a “casual attitude to accuracy is not only confusing to the public but is obstructing genuine public debate”.

He claimed that some of the statistics used were “factually incorrect or deliberately misleading”.

In January this year, the then UK Statistics Authority chairman, Sir Michael Scholar, replied to a similar letter from Labour MP Nick Raynsford.

Sir Michael replied: “Looking at statistics on housing, house building and house prices more generally, the Statistics Authority has been concerned for some time that there is a lack of coherence and clarity in their public presentation.”

He added: “I recently wrote to the minister for housing proposing that the Statistics Authority should be invited to carry out a formal assessment of the statistics produced by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Tenant Services Authority.”

The invitation was not taken up by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Mr Shapps dismissed what he called Mr Dromey’s “incomprehensible rant”.

“Not only did his government fail to build more homes, despite the apparent good times, but they actually introduced programmes designed to destroy entire neighbourhoods,” Mr Shapps said.

“Their housing market renewal programme bulldozed 10,000 homes, whilst only replacing 1,000. So just to be clear, no-one did more to destroy our nation’s homes since the Luftwaffe bombs of World War II.”