How would referendum affect Scottish growers?

Growers and retailers north of border worried over second independence vote.

Sturgeon: pressing for a second vote on independence - image: SNP
Sturgeon: pressing for a second vote on independence - image: SNP

The prospect of another Scottish independence referendum is alarming retailers and growers in Scotland, with EU membership clouding the issue. The garden industry generally supported a remain vote during the 2014 poll but Brexit means issues are more complex this time round.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon is pressing for a second referendum three years after the first, mainly because Scots voted in favour of remaining in the EU by 62 to 38% while the majority of the rest of Britain decided to leave.

Perthshire-based Glendoick Gardens director Ken Cox says: "Quite a lot of the people who want Scottish independence want independence from the EC too. So who knows what the outcome of a referendum would be? I'm pro EU and generally not so keen on Scottish independence and not sure which way I'd vote."

Jennifer Brodie of Remin, based in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, says: "One week after the other, my return journeys up and down, Aberdeen to London, were completely seamless - less than an hour-and-a-half in the air each way, with Airbnb providing efficient and economic accommodation. The thought of introducing border controls is dreadful.

"Yes, I am for devo-max for Scotland because whilst business has got its act together, and this applies to Brexit too, it is politics that is messing things up and yet it is business we all depend on - that and the soil."

The 2014 independence vote was 53/47 in favour of staying in the union. Growforth owner Stan Green, who was awarded the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society's Horticultural Medal this month, says a new referendum "could go either way".

He adds that he wants to make sure Scotland carries on dealing with geographically close traditional partners. Voting in 2014 got closer and closer, he recalls, and now, from a more even start, that could mean a leave vote is more likely than three years ago.

Edinburgh-based Dobbies' new chief executive Nicholas Marshall says: "The real trouble was David Cameron giving a referendum turned into, for a lot of Scots, a vote of 'are you Scots or not?' which I think misconstrued the situation. I'm half Scottish, half English, I've lived in Wales for 40 years and I love the Irish. I'm a unionist. I'm very keen Scotland stays in the UK. We have too much shared history." Dobbies has 34 centres split between Scotland and England, with one in Northern Ireland.

Strong horticulture

HTA Scotland and Northern Ireland regional business manager Neil Cummings says "it doesn't matter either way" about a new Scottish devolution vote because strong horticulture in Scotland will continue regardless.

The HTA will launch a horticulture plan for Scotland at Gardening Scotland on 2-4 June, written with help from the HTA Scotland Horticulture Panel. Cummings says the plan will emphasise the importance of horticulture in the nation, with health and well-being, environment, economy and tourism's role detailed within that.

"That work will continue whatever happens," he says, and it is "very much business as usual" in terms of HTA support of Scottish growers and retailers. "Obviously there's a debate in Holyrood over a second referendum and I guess we'll be in a better position to say after that."

Cummings adds that business rates, glyphosate, apprenticeship levies and Brexit are big current issues that he is dealing with on a regional business support level.

The Ornamentals Round Table had an event on future Scottish peat production this week. Scotland is the largest remaining UK producer, with only Somerset bogs remaining in production in England.

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



Masses of colourful tubular flowers can give these plants a substantial presence in the border, says Miranda Kimberley.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses

Walls, trellises, pergolas and even trees can all be brightened up by these beautiful blooms, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.

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

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

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

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles