Ornamentals Round Table drafts list of requests for Defra

A list of "asks" of Defra in a document drawn up as part of the Ornamentals Round Table includes requests for it to talk to other Government departments on employment, promotion, supply chain and other ornamental horticulture policy matters.

Paris: wants Defra to facilitate - image: HW
Paris: wants Defra to facilitate - image: HW

The document calls for an international garden expo for the UK in 2020, £60,000 funding for the Grow careers website for portals and films, a carrier bag levy to be given to green space and garden charities and a five-year plan for the round table.

There is a call for an EU ornamental plant protection issues discussion group to stop "overly-precautionary" EU measures as well as a call to revise Government policy on growing media to make it "evidence-based" and to "reset target aspirations".

Other requests include funding for apprenticeships, horticulture promotion in schools, gardening on the school curriculum, GREAT Campaign for exports to include horticulture, Sunday trading rules relaxation and funding for training and supply chain improvements.

HTA director Carol Paris, chair of the round table promotion and perception of the industry action group, said: "We want Defra to be facilitating who we need to speak to. If we don't know who to talk to, we don't get through."

The round table, launched in September 2014, includes the HTA, RHS, Horticutlural Development Company, Horticulture Innovation Partnership, Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Lantra, NFU and YoungHort.

They aim to find ways to increase the competitiveness of the sector by joint working. Attendees discussed barriers facing competitiveness, opportunities for growth and attracting more young people to the sector.

The issues that they want to tackle include market structure, perception of the ornamentals industry, skills and recruitment.

Lord de Mauley offered to help by communicating with other Government departments about the importance of ornamentals in achieving their policy outcomes, such as jobs, careers, import displacement/exports, health benefits and tourism.

The final meeting is scheduled for April.

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