Passports, permits, and peat top the agenda for HTA Policy at National Plant Show

The Horticultural Trade Association's (HTA) Policy and Public Affairs Team will be setting out the HTA's successes and key policy asks at the National Plant Show 2023 next week (Tuesday, 20, and Wednesday, 21 June 2023). Topics topping the agenda in their seminar session will be:

  • The HTA's recent success in securing a two-year easement allowing GB Plant Passports to be affixed to retail-ready plants in the EU and the development of a new electronic system
  • CITES and the movement of endangered species across borders and the increased challenges, with cacti and orchids as two examples. This is an issue causing many HTA members to cease imports. Clarity and understanding are needed, including new steps to start to digitalize the system
  • Peat – updating on the latest from the UK government and the HTA's position and discussing with seminar sponsor Sinclair the progress, opportunities, and challenges of becoming peat free.

The HTA Policy seminar will be 10 am on Wednesday, 21 June. Alongside this seminar, the HTA is seeking to brief and engage representatives from the sector on a range of pressing issues facing the breadth of HTA membership.

Jennifer Pheasey, HTA's Director of Public Affairs, said: "The HTA's policy and public affairs team is looking forward to engaging members on the latest on some of the industry's critical issues. In May, the HTA was pleased to announce its success in securing an extension to the easement allowing GB Plant Passports to be affixed to retail-ready plants in the EU on behalf of GB Plant Passport holders. The new, fixed deadline of 30 June 2025 means importers have 24 months to put in place a labeling solution GB-side. This much sought-after outcome follows months of uncertainty and the HTA's work engaging with Defra to set out sector needs.

"CITES has been a priority area for HTA in recent months, working with the UK CITES-responsible bodies to raise some of the challenges experienced by the sector and ambitions to see a number of improvements to user experience. This includes an increased speed in processing import permit applications for live plants and full digitalization of the CITES application permit process. The NPS seminar will be a great chance to engage further to see how we can increase industry knowledge and educate the authorities on sector concerns."

"Peat is a top issue for the industry. The HTA has long championed sustainable practices and supports the industry's transition from peat use, and much work has been happening to reduce it. The long-term impacts on Britain's horticultural industry and the environmental benefits it delivers will be seismic and out of all proportion with the environmental gains of bringing in a peat ban a few years early – at a time when the industry is already demonstrating a year-on-year reduction in its use."

Keith Nicholson, from Sinclair (Westland Horticulture), commented: "Westland and Sinclair are at the forefront of growing media innovation and performance. Our comprehensive product range consistently delivers the optimum growing technology to produce healthy, vibrant plants successfully. We are investing heavily in transitioning to sustainable, high-quality alternatives for all end-users. This transition needs time, support, clarity, and full engagement from the government to be delivered effectively. Getting this right is critical in supporting our customers across the four corners of the UK. We are looking forward to joining the panel at the National Plant Show to share our experience."

For more information:
Horticultural Trades Association

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