The inspection procedure
For the spring, summer and autumn (typically March to
November) every site will usually be visited monthly and at least half of our total plots will be inspected.
We also run full graded inspections in the autumn and spring for all our plots.
During the quieter winter months between the autumn and spring inspections (November to March) there is a reduction in inspections, especially during very cold snowy conditions.
What the inspecting officer will be looking for
The officer will initially look at the entire plot to see that the majority of it is being cultivated and cropped. If it isn’t, or if large areas towards the front or rear of the plot have been left
unworked, this will likely lead to the tenant receiving a cultivation improvement notice.
Particular attention will be paid to seeding weed plants within beds. Where there are large areas of weeds, a weed notice will be issued. They will also look at uncontrolled areas of perennial weeds
such as brambles, nettles and rank unmanaged grass. Beds with established and seeding weeds alongside crops will also be liable to a weed improvement notice.
Seasonality will be taken into account when the officer inspects. At mid-summer, most of the plot should be used for growing crops. Plots mostly covered in plastic mulch will be liable for notice, as
may a plot given over mainly to cut grass, without permission.
During the autumn and winter months, they will be looking to see that plots which have become weedy in the late summer are being cleared and improved, however this does not mean you need to be sowing
crops. Generally if you are using the winter months to improve your plot by clearing waste and increasing cultivation, then this will be taken into account. However, if a plot has been let go in the
summer, a winter improvement notice may be issued.
Waste and rubbish
The level of waste will be assessed on the plot, in particular if new waste materials have been brought onto the site. The tenant is expected to keep the materials they bring onto their plot to a
minimum. Items such as double glazing, timber, doors, tyres and building or landscaping materials are of particular concern.
Any items of household furniture, as well as material that may break down and pollute the soil, or pose a health and safety hazard may also lead to an improvement notice being issued. Any indication
that a tenant has burnt inorganic waste on their plot will lead to a notice and serious cases of burning polluting materials, such as plastic and carpet, may lead to us taking further legal action or
reporting the matter to Environmental Health.
Other rule breaches
This may include potential hazards such as overly deep ponds or the use of glass bottles for bed construction; leaning or dangerous structures or structures without permission. Checks that trees are
being kept under control and are not causing excessive shading and vegetation is not overhanging other plots and tracks will also be made.
The officer will also look at hen houses and rabbit hutches to ensure that animal welfare is being taken care of and that no cockerels are on the plot.
Notices What to do if you receive a notice