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UK: Ornamental horticulture industry comes together to develop a plan for growth

The first cross-sector action plan, designed to increase growth and competitiveness for the Ornamental Horticulture Industry, has been created by leaders from across the horticultural sector.

The plan, which will be launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, focuses on addressing 12 priority areas where Government facilitation could encourage long term growth.

It is the culmination of six months’ work that included a series of roundtable meetings between experts from the Ornamental sector and input from Defra. The plan unifies their concerns and focuses on those areas which, if addressed, have the greatest potential to grow the sector, provide major benefits to the health and well-being of the environment and society, and help towards addressing government policy challenges.

Speaking about the plan, Roundtable chair and Royal Horticultural Society Director General Sue Biggs said: “The work the industry has put into the creation of this plan has been truly impressive. Everyone has pulled together to really focus our collective expertise, skills and insights to develop a map of where the sector should go. This is vital if Ornamental Horticulture is to regain its position at the top table among the most important economic, social and cultural sectors in our economy.

“Despite the work that has been done to get to this point, the real work begins after the election, when we work with Government to address these 12 points. That’s when the skill and commitment that the sector has shown this far will be partnered with Government to ensure this important sector does not just survives, but thrives.”

The organisations behind the development of the action plan include the Horticultural Development Company, Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Grow Careers, the Horticulture Innovation Partnership, the Horticultural Trades Association, Landex, Lantra, the National Farmers Union, the Royal Horticultural Society and YoungHort, and they will continue to guide its development over the next five years.

A representative from the horticultural sector will lead and drive each of the 12 challenge areas and will feed in to a Steering group. To ensure rigour, each group will be encouraged to draw on expertise from within and outside the sector, including from across Government, to inform their work. 

The 12 areas of focus are:
1. Horticulture Careers (Apprenticeships, Ambassadors and Grow Careers)
2. Horticulture and the National Curriculum
3. Garden Tourism
4. Garden Expo
5. Sunday Trading
6. Supply Chain Best Practice
7. Fiscal Incentives
8. Research and Development
9. Plant Health and Pollinators
10. Health and Horticulture
11. Green Infrastructure
12. Inputs and waste- (Water, crop protection, growing media, pesticides, energy,)

The Roundtable group will reconvene in April to discuss progress ahead of the May launch at Chelsea Flower Show.

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