Restrictions force David Austin Roses to consider Dutch site

David Austin Roses is considering buying a Dutch nursery site because water restrictions are preventing UK production expansion.

European director Tony Slack confirmed that the grower is looking into buying a Dutch nursery site should new water licence applications be refused.

"In the past year we have planned summer abstraction and we always have to save the water in the reservoir for a drought because we never know when the droughts will be," he explained. "We are relying on the summer abstraction and because of that we have not developed any more production."

On the prospect of a new Dutch site, which would be used to grow stock for export to Germany, Slack said: "It could be cheaper to have a foreign nursery but at the moment I would rather get more water in England than buy a Dutch nursery."

He added: "Water companies' bread and butter is consumers and big businesses and we are neither, but most of the growers are more bothered by the Environment Agency than the water companies.

"The agency has the job of conserving water and the growers need water to stay in business. Security of supply is paramount, but in our case it is preventing development."

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