Horticulture issues "not heard" in Brexit White Paper

The word 'horticulture' is not mentioned in the 77 page White Paper on United Kingdom's exit from the European Union published on 2 February.

The United Kingdom's Exit from and New Partnership with the European Union document gives intellectual property a brief mention in paragraph 8.36, "but that merely states the current position and doesn’t really tell us what the Government hopes to achieve from the Brexit negotiations, " said Plants for Europe's Graham Spencer.

Spencer added: "The word 'horticulture' does not appear in the entire document. Nor can I see 'plant' or 'phytosanitary'. Paragraph 8.15 concentrates on agri-food and not so much on other sectors within agriculture. It shows the challenge we thought we would face – simply being heard."

Ben Reynolds, deputy chief Executive of Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, said:

"Whilst we applaud the ambitions to build a better Britain, the Government's white paper doesn't give the reassurance that what will come in the wake of Brexit won't lead to lower standards for consumers, workers and the environment.

"Given the huge importance of the UK farm and food system to our economy and health and wellbeing, we welcome the commitment to design "new, better and more efficient policies for delivering sustainable and productive farming, land management and rural communities," he added.

"We hope the detail that follows this statement of intent from the Government backs up this position and that we don’t race towards becoming a bargain bin Britain, with lower quality standards in the food we eat and the farming we support.

"There must be no weakening of rules on environment, pesticides, animal welfare, workers rights or food safety to both protect public health and ecosystems but also to ensure we are able to continue to sell goods in global markets where such standards are expected. To ensure this we believe it is important to take time to design a new agriculture support system for farmers, which ensures a healthy environment and other public benefits, given the huge impact any policy changes will have on farm viability."

The NFU and HTA have been contacted for comment.

The Garden Retail Summit 2017 taking place in London on 23rd February will focus on growth, and include the opportunities and challenges of 'brexit', learnings from the latest garden centre developments - and will be opened with a keynote address from John Cleland, CEO, Dobbies.  For more details and tickets go to: www.gardenretailawards.com/summit


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