HTA in Meeting with Secretary of State to Discuss Water Use by Growers

On Friday 7th September 2018 HTA representative John Adlam joined the NFU, the CLA, land owners, abstractor groups, the Environment Agency and water companies to discuss abstraction and water use in the growing and farming communities with the Rt Hon Michael Gove Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

At the meeting John Adlam stressed to the Secretary of State that although we have had rain, the drought conditions are not yet over for growers irrigating 250ha roses, 600ha trees and 1,000ha container crops. If we have a dry Autumn, then the Environment Agency will need to continue its flexible support to abstractors.

The point was also made that growers were beginning to increase production to meet expected sales increases post-Brexit and that the EA abstraction figures currently used to predict future use should be increased accordingly.

A recent grant scheme that excluded smaller growers due to the required £68,000 capital spend was highlighted as requiring a reduced investment amount to enable growers to install tanks and improve water self sufficiency.

Mr Gove also listened to the HTAs suggestion that abstracted and mains water for use by nurseries and garden centres needs to be classified as "Essential Use" and not placed low down the hierarchy of importance.

Gove finalised the meeting by saying that the government is planning to consult stakeholders on exisiting abstraction and irrigation legislation, looking at why we do it, what should be improved and how to achieve the subsequent results.

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