Growers stand up for glasshouse sector

Local protected horticulture defended by Lea Valley Growers Association as Epping Forest District Council revises local plan.

Lea Valley Growers Association has made a vigorous defence of local protected horticulture to Epping Forest District Council, which is revising its local plan.

The association's ten-point proposal calls for the council's policy of restricting areas in which glasshouse development can be considered to be scrapped in favour of a "criteria-based" policy. It also urges expansion of renewable energy generation, including anaerobic digestion, and the possible selling off of unviable sites.

The proposal warns: "Unless these marketing companies and packhouses are encouraged and allowed to expand, supermarkets will place their orders elsewhere in the UK and abroad, which will effectively lead to the demise of the entire Lea Valley glasshouse industry."

Association chairman Gary Taylor said : "The main obstruction (to glasshouse development) is Lea Valley Regional Park Authority because its remit is to protect open space and it is obliged to go against anything that impinges on that."

Valley Grown, of which Taylor is managing director, had its own application to build an 87,000sq m glasshouse refused in June. The proposals for a site adjacent to the park were rejected on grounds of their perceived impact on visual amenity.

In spite of this, Taylor said: "I am pleasantly surprised that the council is talking to us. They recognise the importance of the glasshouse sector in the area and this is our opportunity to influence the plan. Our MPs are also supportive and I am optimistic that something positive can come out of it."

Regional industry Glasshouse area decline

Lea Valley is still one of the main UK glasshouse areas, along with Sussex, Evesham Vale and Humberside. But in the 1960s it was the largest in the world, with nearly 300ha of glass.

Now that figure stands at just 60ha - a fivefold reduction in half a century. The decline coincided with the creation of the regional park authority in 1966, which led to what the association's planning submission calls a "culture of obstruction and unwillingness to engage with growers".


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Is a post-Brexit seasonal worker scheme now impossible?

Is a post-Brexit seasonal worker scheme now impossible?

The UK fresh-produce sector has reacted with dismay at the latest developments in the ongoing debate, largely conducted out of public view, on whether UK horticulture will still have access to seasonal migrant workers when the UK leaves the EU in 18 months' time.

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

UK production horticulture can become more profitable under one possible Brexit scenario, while other more drastic scenarios will lead to only minor losses in profitability, a new report argues.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon