The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) launched their Scottish Environmental Horticulture Growth Strategy at the beginning of March – and it was this plan that was the topic of conversation for the Gardening and Horticulture Cross Party Group (CPG) in Scotland's Parliament on Thursday, March 16.
The CPG brings together members from across Scottish Horticulture, MSPs, and government officials.
There are over 1 million regular gardeners in Scotland, and millions more utilizing green spaces. Moreover, horticulture and landscaping supported contributions of £2.8bn towards GDP and over 64,000 jobs in Scotland in 2019.
The HTA's Growth Strategy has seven key ambitions for Scotland:
- Health – to create a healthier Scotland through Horticulture
- Economy – Develop Green economic growth, high-quality jobs, and invest in education/skills
- Environment – to mitigate climate change
- Local – Increase the use of Scottish and UK-grown plants as import substitution
- Industry – Drive Scottish growth through investment, development grants, and reducing the cost of doing business
- Urban Nature – Produce a greener planning system
- Biosecurity – enhance and protect Scotland's natural capital.
HTA Chairman James Barnes commented:
"I am delighted that the HTA's Scottish Environmental Horticulture Growth Strategy has been discussed in Holyrood. We have several key ambitions which link government policy to the benefits of environmental horticulture, whether that is through the biodiversity strategy, mitigating climate change, or promoting health and well-being."
"Furthermore, the Strategy We look forward to working closely with Rachael Hamilton MSP, Christine Grahame MSP, and other representatives to benefit such an important industry in Scotland."
Stan Green, Director of the HTA's Scotland Policy Board and Managing Director of nursery Growforth in Dunfermline, was buoyed by the meeting:
"We believe that now is the opportune time for the industry and Holyrood to come together to realize the potential of the industry. Having an active Cross-Party Group is an important platform to achieve this. The Growth Strategy offers the chance for Scotland's political decision-makers to engage with us. In many ways, the onus is on them as the decision-makers, and ultimately enablers, to make this happen. Given the environmental crisis, our sector's production of trees and plants is more important than ever."
Rachael Hamilton, MSP, and CPG Convener, commented:
"It was fantastic to reconvene the CPG on Gardening and Horticulture in the Scottish Parliament. My MSP colleagues and I were delighted to be joined by so many representatives from the industry."
"The launch of the HTA's Growth Strategy was a resounding success, and I look forwarding to following progress on its implementation and supporting the HTA where I can with this."
"Scotland's horticultural industry plays a significant role in our rural economy, creating jobs and contributing to Scotland's food security."
"It will also play a vital part in Scotland's Net Zero ambitions. The strategy launched today is very clear about the hard work the industry is undertaking to make this transition."
The HTA had earlier on Thursday presented the Growth Strategy document to Minister Mairi Mcallan MSP, Labour Spokesman Colin Smyth MSP, and Lib Dem Spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP.
For more information:
Horticultural Trades Association