Levy boards to move together

The HDC will move to Stoneleigh by the end of 2010, Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) chairman John Bridge told guests at the levy board's annual barbecue at Westminster Abbey last week.

He commemorated 100 days of the AHDB, which he said would bring "efficiencies in levy delivery".

Bridge added: "We have to start to consolidate and deliver. We'll be in a single building in Stoneleigh in two years to drive the synergies for the future."

Defra secretary of state Hilary Benn said the global challenge the industry faced was rising costs caused by drought, fuel costs, rising prosperity in China and India, and biofuels issues.

HDC chief executive Martin Beckenham said there was no day-to-day running in levies except he had to attend more meetings with the other AHDB boards about working together on issues such as growing and climate change research.

HDC sector company chair Neil Bragg said he will present his plan for structural changes to the organisation in September. He said EU prospective bans on pesticides was the industry's main issue.

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