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Allotment Diary

Can I visit my allotment during a lockdown?

So… A lockdown in the UK is on – can you still visit your allotment?

I’ve just watched the historical broadcast by the prime minister detailing the conditions of a lockdown, which are:

Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.

One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.

Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

Boris Johnson

This is all very fresh at the moment… and I’m slowly digesting the news, and to be honest I’m writing this as I go based on the news and what I’m discovering online… but as with all of these things, time will soon tell how well everything will go.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed we can can all get back to normal soon.

On the face of it, I would say Yes, to visiting the allotment, but not without it’s conditions, these being.

  1. We keep our distance from others, this defined as, not being within 2 metres for 15 minutes. (source: The Guardian)

    DEFRA, has also issued some information regarding allotment visits, which Sean James Cameron has kindly shared here.

    The National Allotment Society has also issues this guidance on visiting allotments here.

  2. When touching surfaces that are in use (gates, locks, entrances to allotment sites), we keep contact to a minimum and as hygienic as possible.
  3. If you are under the weather, then going out other than for medical attention is out of the question – even to an allotment.

The reasons why I’m thinking it’s a yes to visiting allotments, is because, as per the above:

  1. It’s a form of exercise, and is something that can be done alone.
  2. It’s a source of, potentially necessary food stuffs, like food shops. And will probably less crowded than a shop.
  3. Technically, and generally speaking – allotments usually aren’t public spaces, and are owned by a local authority (aka. the landlord). A lockable gate, is also an indicator of public/non-public space, as per this forum. I would double check the fine print of your arrangement at your allotment site to be sure.
  4. In other parts of the world, for example Germany, there is no official lockdown, but there is a strong implementation of “Contact restrictions.” tending to allotment garden is a permitted activity according to this article here.
  5. Gardening in general has lots of health benefits, including boosting the immune system and nurtures our mental health.
  6. This tweet/thread by Jane Merrick (policy editor for the iPaper, and allotment holder/blogger ) has also had confirmations that Allotmenting does count as your one exercise per day.

Those are my estimations so far and if I see and find more information over the next few days, I’ll be sure to keep this post as up to date as possible.

Update 24th March 2020

It’s perfectly sensible for people to go to an allotment. It’s in the very nature of an allotments that there’s a safe distance between people working on an individual allotment, Yes.

MP for Surrey Heath. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster @CabinetOfficeUK talking on BBC news

The National Allotment Society has issued this Guidance with regards to visiting the allotment.

Source: https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news/covid19-information/


Please do also let me and others know your experiences in the comments below. Stay safe out there!

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