Lord Heseltine has backed a bid to secure the future of the horticulture industry, announced on Wednesday.
The peer, who is also Vice-President of the RHS, said: ‘Horticulture has an important role to play, not just at the community level, but also across education, training, housing, health, business and employment. By drawing these areas together in a coherent strategy we can harness the great potential of the ornamental horticultural sector.’
The action plan, designed to stimulate grown within the sector, was unveiled at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The 12-point action plan comes at the end of six months of meetings between industry experts, which has identified a dozen priority areas where government and industry could work together to encourage and aid long-term growth.
Among the changes the sector would like to see over the next five years are for:
• Gardening considered as a treatment on the NHS
• Public bodies and publicly funded works and projects to use UK plants
• An international garden expo to be created to showcase UK horticulture
• Modernisation of the supply chain to improve relationships and competitiveness and reduce dependence on imports
• Introduction of a higher level of horticultural apprenticeship to addresses skills shortages
• A review of the Sunday Trading Act
Speaking about the plan, ornamental roundtable meeting chair and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Director General Sue Biggs said: ‘This is a truly historic day for the ornamental horticulture sector because it marks the beginning of the next phase of growth for the industry we all love.
‘Annually horticulture contributes £10.4 billion to the UK economy and employs around 300,000 people. It is a major economic force that has the potential to contribute even more, and we hope this plan will be a major step in our journey to overcoming the barriers that are holding the sector back.’
RHS Vice President Lord Heseltine said: ‘Horticulture has an important role to play, not just at the community level, but also across education, training, housing, health, business and employment. By drawing these areas together in a coherent strategy we can harness the great potential of the ornamental horticultural sector.’
Read full details of the plan (1.9mB pdf)