A few local authorities cover water charges as part of the service they offer their allotment plot holders. But for many allotment sites, particularly those that are self managed, water and sewerage charges can be a major burden on their funds. A new scheme introduced by the Scottish Government may enable such plots to gain exemption from these charges. However nothing worth while is ever simple, and allotment associations may have to jump through some hoops in order to get there.
This scheme, introduced in January 2015, is aimed at “charities registered with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and Community Amateur Sports Clubs, which meet the scheme requirements and which have an income of less than £200,000”. Sadly allotment associations do not count as Community Amateur Sports Clubs, but several newly formed associations have already set themselves up as charities and it may well be possible for existing associations to do the same. A letter received by Nairn Allotment Society, which has decided to go down this road, says that they can have till 31 March 2016 to apply for exemption for the year 2015 – 16. So there may still be time to do something for this year, and in any case the government web site implies that the scheme will carry on in future years.