Leaders from across the £10 billion a year ornamental horticulture sector have launched a 12-point action plan designed to help secure the future of the industry.
Launched at RHS Chelsea Flower Show today, the plan identifies a dozen priority areas where government and industry could work together to encourage and aid long-term growth.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “This is a pioneering step for the UK ornamentals industry, bringing leading national organisations together to tackle the barriers to growth within the sector.
“The plan provides recommendations on how the industry will cohesively tackle some of the key issues that have been obstructing growth of the British ornamentals sector.
"Modernisation of the supply chain; financial incentives to make UK horticulture more competitive with European counterparts; the need to drive more innovation through access to R&D funding streams and the importance of an integrated response to the threat from pests and disease are all recommendations that will benefit our members.
“While this £10.4 billion sector is a major economic force, the NFU, and other Roundtable partners believe that it is capable of much more. This plan will help focus the whole ornamentals industry work towards shared goals and tackle the obstacles that have prevented the sector from reaching its full potential.”
The 12 asks of industry and government will focus on:
- Horticulture careers: apprenticeships, GrowCareers and Ambassadors
- Horticulture and the National Curriculum in England
- Commercial and promotion: promoting garden tourism through VisitBritain, GREAT Britain campaign, Heritage Lottery Fund
- Sunday Trading: to make the case for garden retailers to be exempt from the Sunday Trading Act
- Garden Expo: to support an international garden exposition and build on its legacy to support the development of garden cities
- Modernisation of the supply chain: improve the sector’s competitiveness and encourage sustainable trading relationships through the development of a best practice hub and new mechanisms to buy UK grown plants
- Financial incentives: identify and harness the financial mechanism, including VAT regimes, that could help level the playing field between UK sector and its European competitors
- Science R&D: to harness government and industry revenue streams to drive innovation, conserve, identify and harness the potential of plants
- Sustainable resourcing of the horticulture sector: water use, growing media, pesticides, land for development, energy and waste management. Increase access to essential resources for growers to support long-term planning by the sector
- Plant health and the National Pollinator Strategy: Plant health: develop an integrated and robust response to the threat from pests by developing joined-up rapid reaction. Encourage environmental and pollinator-friendly behaviours
- Human health and horticulture: building the case for horticulture’s role supporting well-being and as a treatment for specific physical and mental conditions
- Society and horticulture: more and better-quality green infrastructure in towns and cities, with planners given the tools to incorporate these into new and existing developments