The committees and groups are networks of specific business sectors of the HTA membership. They create and drive new HTA projects, share knowledge and the latest industry news, develop strategies and initiatives such as Greening the Olympics and National Plant Show, inform policy and lobbying work, and provide a networking opportunity for members.

The cycle of activity in the committees reflects the modern, constantly changing business environment, and some groups are more active than others at any one time. We are witnessing consolidation in the marketplace, as well as ever-Leaner business, which makes it increasingly difficult for people to give time to ‘the industry’ beyond their immediate companies. As a result, we have seen a few groups go dormant whilst their market structure undergoes further change.

Ornamental Horticulture Assurance Scheme (OHAS)

The Ornamental Horticulture Assurance Scheme (OHAS) (formerly BOPP) has been designed for use by growers and packers of ornamental horticultural products and by growing media producers. The Scheme aims to set high standards of professionalism in the way in which certificated businesses operate and through unbiased and effective evaluation, by an United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited Certification Body where applicable, to ensure that these standards are maintained. The ultimate objective is to ensure that customers can have complete confidence in both product and service when dealing with OHAS Certificated suppliers.


Commercial Committee

The Commercial Committee is a cross-sector group made up of retailers and garden product suppliers with a responsibility to represent larger HTA members operating in the retail sector and its supply chain. The Committee meets twice a year to identify key issues that impact the sector; consider, discuss, and review HTA initiatives, activities and operations regarding the sector and to provide recommendations to the HTA. The Committee is chaired by Caroline Owen of Scotsdales Garden Centre.

Growing Media Association (GMA)

The GMA and its members are committed to the provision of high quality growing media for the millions of plants grown in pots and containers in the UK every year, whether they are grown by gardeners on their patios or by commercial growers. When plants are grown in containers, (rather than the soil), a fundamental requirement for healthy growth is a growing medium or substrate that supports a healthy root system. Plant roots in a container have access to a much smaller volume of substrate than they would when grown in the soil therefore the air and water capacity of the medium used is much more critical.


Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media

This scheme has been five years in the making and its aim is:

To ensure growing media is made from materials that are sourced and manufactured in a way that is both socially and environmentally responsible.

The scheme enables retailers, growers and manufacturers to make the best informed decisions about different constituent formulations, maximising the environmental and social benefits, as well as considering cost.

Each raw material in a growing media mix is scored through seven straightforward decision trees:

  • Energy use
  • Water use
  • Social compliance
  • Habitat and biodiversity
  • Pollution
  • Renewability
  • Resource use efficiency

Individual scores combine to one over-all score for a particular mix, eg. multi-purpose compost.

Now we can all understand, measure and take responsibility for the social and environmental impacts of our choice of growing media materials.

The scheme was piloted at HTA National Plant Show on 17 and 18 June 2016, and is currently in development phase with a project steering group and subgroups to cover Technical, Benchmarking, Communications, Audit and Membership.

The audit part of the scheme is currently going through the tendering process. Tender applications have been received from ADAS and Exova; the tender document is listed below.

Audit tender

Please follow the below links for:

Annex 2 Decision trees Social compliance ingredient rater Guidance notes



Ornamentals Management Committee

This is the most strategic HTA grower group and membership consists of representatives from all the other sectors. It directly advises HTA on lobbying strategies, channelling a consensus voice where possible, to ensure a powerful industry message.

This group also generates strategies for growers in dealing with major issues and challenges, such as plant health. The government’s Chief Plant Health Officer attended a 2015 committee meeting which led directly to better, more open communications between industry and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

The committee meets three times a year and helps create and drive HTA projects, both sector-specific and industry-wide.

HTA Ornamentals Management Committee Statement following November committee meeting:

"The HTA Ornamentals Management Committee (OMC) held an extra-ordinary meeting on November 25 to discuss a number of key and time-critical issues.

"The OMC eagerly awaits the publication of the new AHDB Strategy and will seek to discuss it directly with Nicholas Saphir, the AHDB Chairman, at the earliest opportunity.

"The meeting reviewed the current situation with regard to evolving EU Exit regulations and requirements post January 1 and concluded that despite its best efforts, the industry is not sufficiently prepared. The outcomes of the discussion provides further empowerment for the HTA in its negotiations with Government.

"The meeting also appointed Jonathan Whittemore of Johnsons of Whixley, as its Vice Chair, Nick Dunn of Frank P Matthews as a new member and nominated Charles Carr of Hilliers to represent HTA at the European Nursery Stock Association."

Ornamentals Management Committee

Chair - Martin Emmett, Binsted Nurseries
Vice-Chair - Jonathan Whittemore, Johnsons of Whixley
Adrian Marskell, Bransford Webbs
Martin Brijs, Palmstead Nurseries
Geoff Caesar, Bordon Hill Nurseries
Charles Carr, Hilliers
James Coles, Coles Nurseries
Nick Dunn, Frank P Mathews Ltd
Tim Edwards, Boningales Ltd
Brian Fraser, Oakover Nurseries
David Higginson, New Leaf Plants
Richard Hopkins, Fargro and West Sussex Growers, Association
Jonathan Marquis, Lovania Nurseries
Natalie Porter, Porters's Fuchsias
Guy Massey, Joseph Rochford Gardens
Steve McCurdy, Majestic Trees
Jonathan Whittemore, Johnsons of Whixley


Amenity Suppliers Group

This grower group mainly supplies the landscape trade, from specifications for large-scale public procurement contracts to domestic landscapers. They meet twice a year to discuss key issues and opportunities, as well as to network and assess the state of the trade nationally.

This group also directly advises AHDB on R&D needs. The Import Substitution study which identified a £300 million opportunity for UK growers came from this group in 2012. Plant health is currently a big topic of discussion for this group and they have regularly driven and shaped HTA lobbying in this area. A recent success being to influence the draft EU regulations to include grower compensation packages and to cover internet traders. The group also tries to engage the industry with government agencies leading on major public procurement projects such as HS2.

This group has also had a strong influence on the Ornamental industry Roundtable Action Plan, creating asks for a green infrastructure evaluation toolkit and better engagement with the industry in the public procurement process.

Retail Suppliers Group

This vibrant grower group specialises in the supply of plants to retail, from big chain to small independent. They meet two or three times a year to network, raise issues progress business growth and development. This group created National Plant Show which has grown into one of the most successful and productive UK trade shows. And this group started the Selling Plants Profitably brochure and Plantarea Manager training programme. Improving plant marketing and selling skills are core interests of this group.

In summer 2016, the HTA drew together key industry figures form this group and from the retail management and manufacturers committees to hold a Joint Meeting which started an industry think tank process looking to the future of plant and garden retailing.

Tree and Hedging Group

A thriving group of bare-root and container tree and hedging plant growers and suppliers. This group spotted ash dieback on Danish nurseries in 2009 before it hit the UK, alerting government and the trade to this devastating disease. More recently, this group alerted the media to the likely destruction of millions of trees in 2016, resulting from the government’s poor implementation of woodland grant schemes.

This group holds an annual conference, dinner and site visits to network, share new developments, research ideas and sector issues. The group also does study tours, feeds into AHDB research programmes and directly informs HTA industry lobbying activity, such as plant health and major public procurement projects such as HS2.

2015 AGM and conference was held at Albrighton Hall in Shropshire with visits to Forestart and Maelor Nurseries, and reports from CONFOR and EFNA. The HTA and AHDB-H held a joint Technical Day focussed on the tree and hedging sector in summer 2015.





Other Groups and Committees

Association of Liner Producers

This group is made up of quality growers supplying liners to the trade. The group differentiates itself through quality standards.  The group and all its members meet to discuss standards and developments and contribute to R&D discussions.