Regarding the news that garden centres in the UK are to be allowed to reopen again from May 13, the Horticultural Trades Association has shared the following statement:
“We welcome the news that garden centres will be allowed to open from Wednesday in England. This is a hugely positive economic move and hopefully this will be confirmed tomorrow night by the Prime Minister. Based on the specific comments we have seen from government sources, it is good to see that they have recognised that the physical layout of many garden centres with large open air spaces make them suitable for early re-opening. This is something we have highlighted many times to government at all levels since the start of lockdown.
“As this is the peak of the garden industry season - 70% of plants are sold between March and June - opening garden centres now will be welcomed by the 23m gardeners in this country and the UK garden industry. We hope the news of reopening from Monday in Wales and Wednesday in England is a sign to come for the rest of the UK.
“The HTA has produced Safe Trading Guidance, which covers all aspects of how garden centres can re-open while ensuring staff and customer safety at all times. While many are ready to open and have been working hard to put in place the necessary measures, our priority over the coming days will be to provide help to those that need further support. This is to ensure that we can get as many businesses back up and running but only when they can open safely.
“Although opening gardening centres is hugely welcomed across the horticulture supply chain, this isn’t the single answer for the £1.5bn British nursery market, who have already had to dispose of hundreds of tonnes of plants. The only way to rescue the British nurseries sector is for the UK Government to introduce a Dutch-style stock compensation scheme.”
Wales garden centres already reopen
Garden centres in Wales have already opened up again, prompting the following comment from Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) Chairman, James Barnes:
“We welcome the Welsh Government announcement to reopen garden centres from Monday. Gardening benefits mental health and well-being for so many people isolating at home and the importance of having something to do at home keeps you at home. This is a hugely positive economic move.
“We trust that the Prime Minister and First Ministers in Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow this lead and announce on Sunday that garden centres can open across the UK.
“As an industry, our responsibility is now to work together to deliver a reopening programme in Wales safely and responsibly. The HTA has produced Safe Trading Guidance, which covers all aspects of how garden centres can re-open while ensuring staff and customer safety at all times.
“We have been working closely with garden centres and while many are ready to open and have been working hard to put in place the necessary measures to ensure the safety of both their customers and their staff, our priority over the coming days will be to provide help to those that need further support. This is to ensure that we can get as many businesses back up and running but only when they can open safely.
“With over 23 million gardeners throughout the UK, we know that there will be a huge surge in demand. We would ask customers not to rush to retailers and buy more than they need and before setting out on their journey, to check first that their local garden centre is open. The Plants Near Me website will show which garden centres have signed up to the Safe Trading Guidance We hope that the public will be patient with us while we adapt to these new trading conditions.
“While the news of garden centres reopening in Wales will be welcomed by hundreds of growers across the country as hopefully a sign to come for the rest of the UK, the damage has already been done to our industry, as garden centres have been closed during the annual peak period for plant sales – 70% of plants are sold between March and June and 60% of plant nursery sales in the UK are made through independent garden centres. The only way to rescue this sector now is for the UK Government to pursue a simple Dutch-style compensation scheme, which will help save our horticultural industry.”
For more information
Horticultural Trades Association
19 High Street
T: +44 (0)118 930 3132
Fax: +44 (0)118 932 3453
NGGV: +44 (0)118 930 2092