Land set aside for allotments in the UK has declined by 65% from a peak in the "dig for victory" and post-war era. The most deprived areas suffered the worst decline, experiencing eight times the level of allotment closures compared with the most affluent areas.
Scientists estimated that the lost allotments could have provided 6% of the population with their "five-a-day" fruit and veg diet.
The waiting list for an allotment plot was an estimated 100,000 people in 2013. In recent years, the demand for allotment plots has seen a renaissance, which many younger people wanted to grow their own fruit and veg
As the urban population was growing, urban land became increasingly valuable to developers. Yet regarding the allotment sites that had been closed, the team found that about a quarter of the land had not been developed for buildings but had been used as another form of green space.
"If the land within this was potentially suitable for reconversion to allotments was changed back to food production, the space available could meet up to 100% of the waiting list demand in the cities," observed Ms Dobson, a PhD student at the university's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences,