Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group (OHRG)

A new report, released in September 2021, outlines how the ornamental horticulture and landscaping industry is set to contribute nearly £42 billion to the UK and support more than 760,000 jobs by 2030

Growing a green economy (2021)

The independent Growing a Green Economy: The importance of ornamental horticulture and landscaping to the UK (2.88MB pdf) report was commissioned by the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group (OHRG). It found the industry could be worth £13bn more than in 2019 and support an extra 100,000 jobs. The report showcases an industry with the potential to make a huge contribution to the UK’s economic, social, and environmental renewal over the next decade.

Researched and written by Oxford Economics and Foresight Factory, the report builds on previous analysis that found the industry was worth £28.8 billion in 2019. The British public’s embrace of outdoor green space during the pandemic, as well as the industry’s role in combating climate change, are contributory factors to the industry being projected to be worth £13 billion more by 2030.

Alongside the report, the OHRG has also published a detailed action plan Unlocking green growth: A plan from the ornamental horticulture & landscaping industry (1.45MB pdf), outlining what policy changes are needed and how the industry and government can work together to bring the socio-economic research findings to reality. This includes increasing UK plant and tree production to ‘build back greener’ and the wider ambitions around how the industry can help the Government meet its environmental sustainability targets.

The action plan also sets out other areas for future potential collaboration with Government including how ‘green trade’ can be increased, how planners can better incorporate green space; how outdoor space can lead to urban renewal and improved health; and how we can develop future workforce skills.

Elsewhere in the report, the OHRG found that the industry could support:

  • An extra £2.5 billion in direct GDP* contributions to the UK economy per year by 2030 through improved capacity, productivity and sustainability
  • An extra £1.8 billion in total GDP* contributions to the UK economy per year by 2030 by safeguarding the UK’s domestic and non-domestic gardens and green spaces
*GDP (Gross Domestic Product)

  • £9.6 billion of extra growth in annual GDP* contributions by 2030 through a co-ordinated approach by Government, industry, and research providers, to research and development that will help to tackle climate change through innovative and sustainable solutions
  • A total of 763,400 jobs by 2030, an increase from 674,200 in 2019. This includes directly employing an additional 39,000 people

Protecting the future of horticulture (2020)

The RHS is deeply concerned about the threats facing the Ornamental Horticulture sector due to Covid-19, as are all our partners in the industry body, the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group, which includes HTA. Our sector is made up of hundreds of family-run businesses who have delivered world-class plants for us all to enjoy. In this time of great uncertainty, the RHS wants to ensure that people can continue to enjoy gardening, something that is much needed for the mental and physical health of much of our population. If steps are not taken to support the growers that underpin one of Britain’s favourite past times and £24.2 bn industry, then many of these businesses will cease to exist, and vital growing skills will be lost to the country.
Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says; “By the end of June, we estimate that the Ornamental Horticultural industry will face £687 million in lost sales which would balloon to a staggering £1.198 billion by December 2020. Behind each of these numbers is a family or business struggling to keep their passion for plants alive. Everyone at the RHS stands with them and calls on the UK Government to act now to save the Ornamental Horticulture industry. It is vital that we ensure that all of us can continue to enjoy gardening and the many benefits it brings.”

Statement from RHS Director General Sue Biggs, 31 March 2020​

Horticultural Skills Report (2019)

A new Horticultural Skills Report, released in October 2019, outlines the skills gaps in the ornamental horticulture sector, finding in particular shortages of technical skills and supervisors despite businesses’ anticipation of growth in employment.

For many years the horticultural industry has spoken of a skills gap, which has now been proven through extensive industry research. More than 1,000 organisations responded to a survey, undertaken by Pye Tait Consulting, to outline their current staffing situation and plans for the future.

The results outline a gap in specialist technical skills, professional and supervisor-level roles, potentially compounded by anticipated growth in employment in these areas of 23% over the next two years. The report also showed that the industry is largely unaware of Government education initiatives and struggles to find apprentices.

The OHRG and the RHS will be seeking to combat the issues highlighted in the report in the coming years through Government influence and providing skills solutions.

Horticulture industry worth £24 billion (2018)

An earlier report revealed the significant value of the UK’s ornamental horticulture and landscape industries. The economic impact of ornamental horticulture and landscaping in the UK (1.1MB pdf) report, released in October 2018, was commissioned by the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group (OHRG). In light of its economic importance, the industry contends that it isn’t being taken seriously by Government for the immense benefits it delivers.

Despite ornamental horticulture supporting 568,700 jobs, generating a £24.2 billion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) footprint  and £5.4 billion in revenue for HM Government in 2017, the industry has been largely ignored and receives little direct support or fiscal incentives. Yet it delivers exceptional public value in terms of the environmental benefit it provides to the nation.

The OHRG is calling on Government to:

  • Create opportunities for the industry to scale up UK production in light of Brexit
  • Support the development of a skills roadmap, to ensure a pipeline of talent to meet current and future workforce needs

Preparing for a post Brexit Britain (2018)

In light of Brexit the All-Party Parliamentary Gardening and Horticulture Group (APPGHG) began an inquiry into the future of the horticulture and gardening industry in 2018. In October of that year, we launched a report, Securing the future of the garden and horticulture sector (730kB pdf), outlining nine recommendations to Government to support the industry.

Background to the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group

The Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group is a body of industry leaders and innovators, including retailers, gardening charities and industry bodies, that have been championing the immense value and benefits of ornamental horticulture to safeguard the nation’s future.

The first cross-sector action plan, designed to increase growth and competitiveness for the ornamental horticulture industry, was created by leaders from across the sector. The plan, which was launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2015, addresses 12 priority areas where government help could encourage the long-term growth of the sector.

The Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Action Plan 2015–2020 (1.9MB pdf) unified the shared concerns of experts from across the ornamental sector and focused on those areas that have the greatest growth potential, providing major benefits to the health and well-being of the environment and society. In 2016, the OHRG provided an update to the Action Plan (514kB pdf), highlighting key actions requiring Government support.

The organisations involved in the OHRG include the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Arboricultural Association (AA), Grow Careers,  the Horticulture Innovation Partnership, the Horticultural Trades Association, Landex, the National Farmers' Union and the Royal Horticultural Society and they will continue to guide its development.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.