Greater Brighton Food Plan

Date of Meeting:

20 July 2021

Report of:

Chair, Greater Brighton Officer Programme Board

Contact Officer:


Angela Blair, Food Policy Coordinator, BHCC



LA(s) affected:









1.1         The UK’s food system contributes to a large amount of economic activity and this paper seeks the Greater Brighton Economic Board (‘the Board’) to support work to proceed with scoping out a Greater Brighton Food Plan, which will enable multiple outcomes. These outcomes will support the delivery of the Greater Brighton strategic priorities.

1.2         The UK food and drink sector is valued at more than £100 billion and the food industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the country, employing 4 million people and generating around £121 billion annually. Coast to Capital is one of the largest horticulture areas in the UK, employing upwards of 9,000 FTE jobs providing in excess of £1 billion of production. A food plan for the city region provides an opportunity to plan, support and build a sustainable and climate resilient economy.


1.3      The proposed Plan will align with current UK government (National Food Strategy) and international work to develop sustainable, resilient, healthy and fair food systems.


2.         RECOMMENDATIONS:    


2.1         That the Board agree to begin the scoping work for a Greater Brighton Food Plan focussed on building resilience and integrating innovations. This scoping work will involve time commitments from relevant officers and employees. 


2.2         That the Board agree for the scoping work to commence and, subject to the findings being positive, that officers take forward the preparation of a food plan and present the plan for consideration and approval by the Board in April 2022.



3.1         Building economic, environmental, and social resilience is a strategic priority for the Board and is captured within the GB10 environmental Pledges and food fits within these areas of focus. Food system vulnerabilities have been revealed during the covid-19 pandemic and opportunities now exist to rebuild local supply chains and infrastructure. The Board is in a position to be proactive and to transform the local and regional food system.


3.2         Potential outputs include the exploration of employment in the food sector e.g. attracting and retaining talent in food retail, catering, production, manufacture and distribution of food; investigating resilience of food supply chain logistics and access to food in our region; highlighting routes to achieve carbon reduction targets across our food system; identifying land of value to food systems transformation; collaborating with higher education institutions and businesses to attract investment for sector innovation and infrastructure improvements.


3.3         An example of a regional success story is viticulture. The scale of growth in viticulture is impressive with a 90% increase in vineyard coverage in the South Downs National Park (SDNP) since 2016 with approximately five new vineyards planted every year. The scale of this recent growth is, however, dwarfed by potential future growth. Almost a third of farmland in the SDNP, covering almost 40,000 hectares of land, is considered suitable for viticulture if current trends of temperature increases caused by climate change are realised. A consideration going forward is how to support sector growth in a way that is sustainable.


3.4         Major transformations in the global food system are required in order to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition. The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030. Nine of the Sustainable Development Goals require a redesign of the food system:


SDG 1.    No Poverty

SDG 2.    Zero Hunger

SDG 3.    Good Health and Wellbeing

SDG 10.  Reduced Inequalities

SDG 11.  Sustainable Cities And Communities

SDG 12.  Responsible Consumption And Production

SDG 13.  Climate Action

SDG 14.  Life Below Water

SDG 15.  Life On Land


3.5         There are inherent and systemic food system challenges that the UK faces. Over half of adults are overweight and obese - the UK has the 3rd highest rate of obesity in the EU and rates are still increasing, furthermore, 5% of the population have diabetes and one third of 5 year olds have tooth decay. 


3.6         Despite the fact that the food industry in Britain is highly efficient 4.3 million tons of food is wasted in the supply chain. For example, families spend nearly a fifth (18%) of their budget on food but throw away the equivalent of 6 meals per week. The global food system is responsible for up to 30% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and if our diets met dietary standards the greenhouse gas emissions from our food would drop by 17%.


3.7         The scale at which the Board operates is the right scale to align food system assets, connect networks and plan infrastructure. The Greater Brighton City Region includes all links in the supply chain to work through from farm (and sea) to fork. Understanding how to create food supply chain resilience and discovering where opportunities exist for businesses to shorten supply chains is now critical. Brexit related food resilience planning has revealed many supply chain issues. These present a pathway to learn how to adapt to shocks and develop resilience.


3.8         A cross-cutting collaborative approach across different sectors (e.g. health, trade, environment, education) and stakeholders (e.g. business, investors, young people, local and central governments) at different levels is essential.


3.9         Each Local Authority (LA) area has an understanding of need, formed during the Covid-19 pandemic, and existing intelligence about the local food supply chain. The scoping exercise will provide an overview for the region, with highlighted sub regional differences accounted for in the proposed action plan. Proposed actions will be aligned to support the implementation of the Greater Brighton Sustainable Recovery Plan to build back a more resilient economy, environment and society.  Many local authorities and Board members (such as the South Downs National Park) are able to make influence the local agricultural economy in the area – as land owners and planning authorities with a view to develop strategies for local food growing.


3.10    There is also strength in the City Region around skills and education through organisation such as Plumpton Agricultural College. There is already some pioneering work taking place across the region through the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, which has Gold status.


3.11    The focus of action will differ from place to place e.g. carbon reduction targets          employment and skills in the food sector; health and wellbeing; food sector growth, social innovation; tourism; sustainable communities; food in a circular economy; food procurement.


3.12    Next steps

Each Greater Brighton Local Authority area can benefit from knowledge transfer during the scoping as it will identify key priorities, interests and ambitions for each LA area. The overall outcome of the scoping will be the basis of a food plan including case studies of food system innovation e.g. horticulture and viticulture, supply chain logistics and food poverty work that progresses the Greater Brighton Five Year Strategic Priorities. Development of the Food Plan will then rely upon the commitment and input from the Board and relevant regional partners.




4.1         Do nothing and wait for recommendations from National Food Strategy Part 2.


4.2         Local Authorities make food plans independently with no strategic leadership.




5.1         Community engagement and consultation will be through existing or new food  partnerships and networks. The Food Partnership in Brighton & Hove is a key organisation that we will consult and work closely with, and we will also seek to build new relationships with organisations in the wider regional food network. This work contributes to building social resilience and offers a strategic approach to food.


6.         CONCLUSION


6.1         The Board is asked to note the benefits a Food Plan would bring to the security and resilience of Greater Brighton and to approve the scoping work to proceed. A Greater Brighton Food Plan is a powerful way to reach multiple outcomes: Carbon reduction targets can be made throughout the food system; Employment in the food sector and food networks can become an attractive career choice: Businesses can get local, sustainable and healthy food on plates at home and out of home: Social innovation can inform and anchor economic developments and land use planning; Existing support and funding programmes can be targeted to enable a critical mass of activity that could attract inward investment.




            Financial Implications:


7.1         There are no financial implications at this scoping stage. The work will be led by the Food Policy coordinator at Brighton & Hove City Council and the work will be in kind. Funding opportunities will be identified throughout the work and detailed in the final recommendations.


            Finance Officer Consulted: Rob Allen

            Date: 05/07/21


Legal Implications:


7.2      There are no legal implications directly arising from this paper.


            Lawyer Consulted: Joanne Dunyaglo

Date:   05/07/21


            Equalities Implications:


7.2      It is important to create equal opportunities to access affordable, healthy food. Barriers link to inequality and systematic biases embedded within our society.


            Sustainability Implications:


7.3       Major transformations in the global food system are required in order to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition. The global food system currently contributes to the climate crisis by producing a third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.








Background Documents


1. Food Statistics in your pocket Summary DEFRA (2020).

2. National Food Strategy DEFRA (Part 1. 2020, Part 2 due to be published 2021)

3. Special Report on Climate change and Land. CH05 Food Security. IPPC (2019)