RESEARCH shows Bexley’s efforts to sustainably produce food and create a healthy environment are ‘lagging behind disappointingly’ compared to other London boroughs.

Bexley has been ranked second worst out of 33 boroughs in the 2011 Good Food for London report.

Statistics released by Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, rank achievements in seven categories relating to the production of healthy and sustainable food.

Among its failings, figures show Bexley is nowhere near its Capital Growth target.

When Boris Johnson launched Capital Growth in 2008 to create plots of land across the city where food could be grown, each borough was expected to establish 60 growing spaces by 2012.

Bexley currently has nine, eight of which are in school grounds.

Bexley Allotment and Leisure Gardeners secretary Brian Gabb, 76, said: “I can’t see how the target is achievable considering how little land is available, even if they are going to use school grounds.

“In the last century nearly every school had its own garden and everybody used it - nowadays everybody thinks their food comes out of tins."

Although the council has an allotment waiting list, only plots benefiting a community can be registered as Capital Growth sites.

The report also highlights Bexley as one of eight boroughs not to be awarded Fair Trade status, even though London is the largest Fair Trade city in the world.

A council spokesperson said: “The rate of Capital Growth take up by schools and community groups reflects the boroughs position as an outer London Borough that has a high percentage of properties with gardens and schools with well established food growing areas.

“Bexley has 35 fully occupied allotment sites providing opportunities for over 1,700 gardeners. In recent years we have worked hard to protect and enhance these sites and we have seen an enormous increase in the number of allotment tenancies.

“Bexley is not a Fair Trade borough and is not seeking to become one at the moment. We feel our residents are more than capable of making the decision whether to buy Fair Trade goods or not without us becoming a Fair Trade borough.”

The report commended the council’s food waste management, praising it for collecting waste from flats.

Islington is considered the healthiest borough, with Croydon and Greenwich ranking highly too.


Capital Growth - Bexley has nine growing patches registered out of 60 due to be achieved by 2012.

Fair Trade Status - Bexley is one of eight London boroughs not to have this status, which recognises councils that support Fair Trade.

Sustainable Fish - Bexley is not partaking in any of the three recommended programmes to protect fish stocks and ensure they are caught safely.

Free-Range Eggs - Bexley has not achieved a Good Egg Award to show eggs sourced in the borough are not from caged animals.

Healthy Catering Commitment Scheme - Bexley is not taking part in the scheme which allows food outlets to advertise they are taking steps to improve food healthiness.

Food for Life Catering Mark - Bexley has achieved this mark, recognising food served in schools is freshly prepared, free of additives and good for the environment and animal welfare.

Waste Collection - Bexley is commended as it collects waste from a high proportion of households, achieving good levels of food waste management.