There are a lot of actions which will benefit horticulture and suggestions of working together to improve the industry in the Government’s ‘A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment’, published yesterday.

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) welcomes many of the actions in the plan, including the creation of more green infrastructure and ways to evaluate and improve its planting and management. The HTA and its members have been working hard for this to happen and it is very encouraging that our voice has been heard.

Much of this will be delivered locally through community projects and it will be great for garden centres to be part of the process in giving advice and selling plants and equipment to help the projects get off the ground. Engaging schoolkids in the natural environment is also to be welcomed and school gardening projects will have a strong role to play in this.

The industry has put a large amount of effort and resource into the creation of the Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media and it is very encouraging to see this mentioned in the plan with more support offered to get the scheme established. There is still some way to go on peat reduction in horticulture and the industry and Government need to work together to inform gardeners of the choice of materials available to them.

The dramatic proposals to increase tree planting and the creation of a new woodland creation grants scheme will help UK tree growers and these are exactly what the HTA and its members have been asking for recently. A new Tree Champion in the Government will help raise awareness of these vitally important plants and the role they play in enhancing everyone’s lives.

The action to ‘make biosecurity central to buying decisions’ builds on the HTA’s efforts to encourage garden retailers and growers to source plants responsibly and not to take unnecessary risks in the face of serious threats like Xylella fastidiosa.

“There are many good ideas and aspirations for the UK garden industry in this plan, and many ways for us to work together with the Government to improve the industry. We look forward to working closely with Defra on the implementation of the plan,” says HTA Director of Horticulture Raoul Curtis-Machin.

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