LV= uses cookies to give you the best experience online and to provide anonymised, aggregated site usage data. You can find out what cookies we use and how you can disable them in our Cookie Policy. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them.

skip to main content

Catch up with the latest press releases from LV=

Large green heart

Brits rediscover the good life

Press release: 02/06/2009

Brits are rediscovering the humble allotment with waiting lists reaching an all time high, according to the first comprehensive allotment survey in over ten years [1].

Research among local authorities commissioned by home insurer LV= reveals the true picture of access to allotments in England and Wales. Demand for allotments has seen a massive resurgence, with around six million people wanting to rent one but only 200,000 plots across the UK recorded at the time of research [2].

Currently at least 83,000 Brits [3] are on a waiting list for an allotment. Applicants are typically looking at an average delay of three years before being granted a plot, although in some areas it could be as much as 40 years.

Camden Council, Blythe Valley Council in Northumberland and Islington Council are singled out as areas where access to allotment plots is particularly problematic, with waiting lists cited as up to 40, 30 and 25 years respectively.

The picture is brighter in the Midlands, with North Shropshire, Nottingham City and Bassetlaw District in Nottinghamshire all reporting available allotment spaces within an average of five months.

With allotment owners keeping on average over £250 of equipment on their plot, LV= is warning people to ensure they have adequate insurance in place. Many insurers do not cover allotments as standard so if in doubt people should contact their insurer to ask for allotment cover to be added to their home insurance policy.

The research also reveals that the financial downturn is fuelling a return to home growing and allotment gardening. Over half of all (56%) of all allotment owners chose to rent a plot to save money [4], while a third (34%) said they did so to be in control of the pesticides that are used on their food. On average, allotment owners say they save around £950 a year through home growing.

Teaching children about food is also a factor for some, with close to one in three (30%) ‘growing their own' as a way to show their children where food comes from.

It appears that the profile of the typical allotment owner is changing too, with single parents the most likely group to want to rent or apply for an allotment – one in three (32%) said they were interested in allotment ownership.

John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said:

"It's fantastic that so many people are embracing 'the good life' and growing their own fruit and vegetables. However with many allotment owners keeping expensive tools on their plots they should contact their insurer to check if they are covered should the worst happen."

Geoff Stokes, Secretary of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG), added:

"We welcome this new insight into allotment accessibility in Britain, and it's encouraging that so many people are interested in getting out and getting in to some green space. Allotment gardening is a fantastic hobby and has so many benefits, it's cheap, it's good for you, and it can save you hundreds of pounds a year on food."


LV= is a registered trade mark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs over 3,800 people, serves around 3.2 million customers and members, and manages around £7 billion on their behalf. We are also the UK’s largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Key Statistics 2008, total net assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, AMI, AFS and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

About the research

Local Authority research was undertaken by research agency PCP, member of the Market Research Society. PCP contacted 410 Local Authorities for information on their allotment provision. Responses were obtained from 73% (301) of the total list of Local Authorities. 276 of these were happy to be named, 19 gave data anonymously and 6 gave incomplete data which the research agency used to provide an estimate. Data could not be collected for the other 109 Local Authorities within the scope of the research. Supplementary data taken from Opinium research. Opinium carried out an online poll of 2,008 British adults between 9th and 14th April 2009. Results have been weighted to be nationally representative.

  1. PCP research undertook an audit of 410 local authorities, identifying the number of allotment sites and plots available within their authority, the number of people currently on a waiting list for an allotment and the longest and shortest expected waiting times. This information was collected for 301 Local Authorities. This survey was last undertaken by the National Association of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners in 1997.

  2. PCP research found that among the 301 Local Authorities surveyed, there were 83,212 people on a waiting list and 206,344 allotment plots. According to research by Opinium, 5,906,536 people say they would like to rent an allotment.

  3. PCP research, Local Authorities report at least 83,212 people are currently on an allotment waiting list at one of the 301 Local Authorities surveyed.

  4. Opinium research