RHS and gardening industry develop a plan for growth

A 12-point action plan to be launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The first cross-sector action plan, designed to increase growth and competitiveness for the ornamental horticulture industry, has been created by leaders from across the sector. The plan, to be launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, addresses 12 priority areas where government help could encourage long-term growth.

The plan is the culmination of six months’ work that included a series of round table meetings between experts from the ornamental sector and input from Defra. The plan unifies their concerns and focuses on those areas that have the greatest growth potential, provide major benefits to the health and well-being of the environment and society.

Speaking about the plan, round table chair and RHS Director General Sue Biggs said: 'The work the industry has put into the creation of this plan has been truly impressive. Everyone has pulled together to focus our collective expertise, skills and insights to develop a map of where the sector should go. This is vital if ornamental horticulture is to regain its position at the top table among the most important economic, social and cultural sectors in our economy.'

The organisations behind the development of the action plan include the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Grow Careers, the Horticultural Development Company, the Horticulture Innovation Partnership, the Horticultural Trades Association, Landex, Lantra, the National Farmers' Union, the Royal Horticultural Society and YoungHort, and they will continue to guide its development over the next five years.

A representative from the horticultural sector will lead and drive each of the 12 challenge areas and will feed into a steering group. To ensure rigour, each group will be encouraged to draw on expertise from within and outside the sector to inform their work.

The 12 areas of focus are:

  1. Horticulture careers (apprenticeships, ambassadors and Grow, the cross-industry careers initiative)

  2. Horticulture and the National Curriculum

  3. Garden tourism

  4. Garden expo

  5. Sunday trading

  6. Supply chain best practice

  7. Fiscal incentives

  8. Research and development

  9. Plant health and pollinators

  10. Health and horticulture

  11. Green infrastructure

  12. Inputs and waste (water, crop protection, growing media, pesticides, energy)

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