Ornamental horticulture action plan to push health angle at Parliament

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) are holding a parliamentary reception in January to launch the Ornamental Horticulture Action Plan to politicians.

Groups involved will tell politicians that ornamental horticulture sector is a £10.4bn industry, present in every constituency, employing some 300,000 people.

The plan was written in early 2015 with 10 groups contributing, and was officially launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May.

The groups are: RHS, HTA, NFU, LANDEX, YoungHort, Lantra, Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Grow Careers, and BALI.

A representative said: "Working in partnership with government, the Action Plan is designed to ensure that the industry continues to grow, and British businesses bloom. There are currently 27 million active gardeners in the UK, and 22 million gardens."

The Action Plan proposes the creation of a joint Health and Horticulture Forum with the horticultural sector, government and the medical profession working together to explore how horticulture and gardening can help address major health and wellbeing issues such as obesity, diabetes, dementia and some mental health conditions. 

During the event, leaders from across the UK’s ornamental horticulture sector will join Defra minister George Eustice MP to outline how to increase competitiveness and harness the power of horticulture to address the big social and environmental challenges facing the UK.

In other news: 

Economic growth across the private sector picked up in the three months to December, according to the latest CBI Growth Indicator. The survey of 766 respondents, which comprises economic activity across manufacturing, retail and business & consumer services sectors, found growth improving following weaker figures reported last month. The balance of firms reporting rising output was +20 per cent, compared with +13 per cent in November, well above the long run average of +5 per cent. Other surveys suggest half of retail staff will be seeking new roles in 2016.

Flower Council UK/thejoyofplants.co.uk has blue conifers as plant of the month for January.

And Alyson Haywood has been named as the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) new inspector replacing Liz Hutson, who is running a Grow Your Own Profits Roadshow for training garden centre staff in February and March.

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