The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) watched with interest as Defra Minister, Zac Goldsmith MP appeared before the House of Commons EFRA committee yesterday (Wednesday) as part of their inquiry into the Government’s tree planting strategy.
James Clark, HTA Director of Policy and Communications, said: “We need the Government to focus and provide confidence to the sector. I’m not sure yesterday’s session moved the debate on very much, unfortunately.
“We have three key asks of government – provide confidence for the sector by providing consistent long-term policy on funding for nurseries and for their amenity/local authority and woodland customers. Secondly, incentivize and encourage landowners to plant trees. Thirdly, include tree nurseries, as well the plant production industry, in the seasonal worker's scheme for overseas workers. We know from HTA research that ornamental growers are c3k short (1,200 FTEs) of the labor they need. Allow those overseas workers on visas for edibles to be able to work on plant and tree production as well. Expanding the visa scheme by 3 months to 9 months will ensure tree production is included.
“The HTA will continue to lobby for change in these three areas, pushing the government to recognize that horticulture has a huge role to play in their ambitious targets for tree planting and carbon reduction; a role that should be recognized and properly supported.”
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Horticultural Trades Association