New Food Policy for Bristol

This is the new policy which has been created collaboratively by the Bristol Food Policy Council, the Blue Finger Alliance and supported by others across the city. Special thanks to Joy Carey for crafting the policy and Stephen Hewitt of Bristol City Council for supporting us in delivering this policy for consideration by the City Council and Planning Inspectorate.

The Blue Finger Alliance and numerous others are calling on Bristol to adopt this as part of the City’s 2014-2026 Local Plan. This document determines land use and development priorities over that time period.  Before we submitted this new policy as part of the final stage of consultation on the new Local Plan, there was no policy to support the creation of a healthy, resilient local food system. A planning document for the 21st century which neglects food sovereignty and sustainability as land use issues does so at it’s peril. We need to integrate this awareness and practices into how we view and develop our city over the next 15 years and beyond.

Let us know what you think. We will post updates on this as things progress. The policy is now being considered by a Planning Inspector who will make recommendations to the City Council.

good food image

New Policy DMxx: Sustainable Food Systems

2.X.1 Food is one of the essentials for life and food security is of increasing concern, as highlighted in the Government’s Food 2030 strategy and the Foresight Report “The Future of Food and Farming: challenges and choices for global sustainability”. Supporting sustainable food systems underpins the aims of the Bristol Core Strategy to deliver a prosperous, cohesive and sustainable city, a regional and green capital, which is a great place to live; a safe and healthy city made up of thriving neighbourhoods with a high quality of life; a city with sustainable economic and housing growth; and a city which reduces its carbon emissions and addresses the challenge of climate change. The National Planning Policy Framework highlights the benefits of agricultural land.

2.X.2 The “Who Feeds Bristol” report highlighted the vulnerability of the existing local food system and the need to develop sustainable food systems. This will require action by a wide range of public, private, voluntary and community organisations, including the spatial planning system. Leading this work is the Bristol Food Policy Council and its Good Food charter states: “Good food is vital to the quality of people’s lives in Bristol. As well as being tasty, healthy and affordable the food we eat should be good for nature, good for workers, good for local businesses and good for animal welfare.”

2.X.3 The Bristol Food Policy Council is developing a Bristol Good Food Plan around eight aims of:

  • To encourage people to cook from scratch, grow their own, and eat more fresh, seasonal, local, organically grown food.
  • To promote community-led food trade such as co-operatives, buying groups, Community Supported Agriculture and pop-up shops.
  • To champion the use of local, independent food shops and traders to help keep our highstreets vibrant and diverse.
  • To promote the use of good quality land in and around Bristol for food production.
  • To increase the amount of Bristol-grown fruit and vegetables supplied to restaurants, cafes, markets, and households across the city.
  • To help open up markets for food made or grown by local producers.
  • To retain and strengthen city links with local wholesale markets, and nearby abattoirs, dairies and farms.
  • To minimise food waste by encouraging composting and the redistribution of good food that would otherwise be wasted.

This development management policy sets out how the spatial planning decisions can support and help implement the Bristol Good Food Plan.

All development should contribute to increasing the capacity and resilience of local sustainable food systems. This will include maximising the opportunities for local food growing through green roofs, green walls, balconies, gardens, allotments, edible landscapes and urban agriculture projects. Facilities for efficient food waste storage, collection and composting will be provided.

Development that:

  1. Involves the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land or other food growing space shown on the Policies Map will not be permitted.
  2. Retains and strengthens food growing infrastructure, such as water supplies, greenhouses, polytunnels, seedling and packing sheds, will be supported.
  3. Retains and strengthens the food manufacturing, processing, supply and distribution infrastructure will be supported.
  4. Threatens the operation or viability of food manufacturing, processing, supply and distribution infrastructure will not be permitted.
  5. Enhances the diversity of local food retailing, including the provision of street markets and pop-up shops, will be supported.
  6. Involves the consumption of cooked food on or off the premises will be encouraged to provide a range of healthy eating options that minimise the sugar, salt and saturated fat content, control its portion size and provide calorie and nutritional information on its menus in line with the Public Health Responsibility Deal pledge on Out of Home Calorie Labelling.
  7. Includes facilities for education about good nutrition, food or cooking skills will be supported.
  8. Is residential will include enough internal space for people to store, prepare and cook meals from ‘cook from scratch’ ingredients and to sit and eat together.

2.X.4 This policy complements and elaborates on a range of other local plan policies covering green infrastructure (BCS6, BCS9 and DM15), economic development (BCS8 and DM13), pollution (BCS23 and DM33), retailing (BCS7, DM7, DM8, DM9 and DM11), food and drink uses (DM6 and DM10), housing standards (BCS18 and DM2), building design (BCS15, BCS21 and DM29), climate change (BCS13) and recycling and refuse provision (DM32).

2.X.5 Food growing areas are defined on the Policies Map and include agricultural land, market gardens, allotments, small-holdings and city farms.

2.X.6 Food industries are sensitive uses that need to meet rigorous hygiene standards and require higher environmental standards. Thus it is important that nearby developments that could compromise these standards and thus prejudice the long-term viability of existing food-related developments should not be allowed.

2.X.7 Information on the Public Health Responsibility Deal pledge on Out of Home Calorie Labelling can be found at:

Policy Links

Bristol Local Plan Core Strategy – lead policy

BCS9 Green Infrastructure

Other key Core Strategy policies

BCS6 Green Belt

BCS7 Centres and Retailing

BCS8 Delivering a Thriving Economy

BCS13 Climate Change

BCS15 Sustainable Design and Construction

BCS18 Housing Type

BCS23 Pollution

Application Information

Planning applications should indicate how the criteria in this policy have been addressed.


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