A Cardiff Councillor is calling for unusable allotments to be cleared for renewable energy sites.
More than 600 plots are vacant in the city despite 552 outstanding requests to use them. The council should think of more creative ways to make use of the land, says Labour Cllr for Splott Jane Henshaw.
Labour Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury, said he is willing to look at how allotments can be used differently.
Cardiff has 3,360 available plots but not all of them are suitable for growing produce because they are overgrown. Cllr Henshaw is asking people to rethink how allotments can be used.
“It seems a crying shame to have food poverty in the city and land available for growing food. But some of the land just isn’t suitable for growing food in the traditional way.”
She has suggested the allotments host renewable energy sources like solar and wind as well as sustainable agriculture methods. In the past she suggested the allotments host aquaponics systems, where aquatic animals like snails and crayfish feed on growing plants in tanks, but the idea was not moved forward. She also suggested the land could be used to grow coppice for bio fuel.
But not all allotment users are convinced that the council will be able to build on these ideas. Splott allotment user, William Eastwood, said the main problem is that the council do not spend enough time clearing allotments before letting them out.
“If the council had cleared them and made them look a little bit more respectable then they would be easier to work.”
He said the idea of bringing expensive equipment on to allotment sites may be impractical.
“Plots like this are not really isolated although we do get quite a bit of vandalism so that would be worrying if they’re going to put equipment on the site.”