Snow brings high damage costs and bills for growers

Growers face the prospect of paying high heating bills and clearing up collapsed glasshouses after heavy snow.

Nottinghamshire-based Windmill View Plant Centre owner June Taylor-Rabjohn saw snow bring the company's uninsured £12,000 30ftx70ft polytunnel to the ground.

Other casualties of the cold snap include East Yorkshire-based Grand Dale Garden Centre, which lost all of its glasshouses under the snow, amounting to damage worth an estimated £100,000. Twinacre Nurseries, Humberside, also suffered glasshouse collapses.

Swanland Nurseries managing director John Waters said: "I have never seen as much snow as this and for it to start in November is a worry. We have been using a lot of oil to keep the snow off the roofs.

"I have one glasshouse that doesn't have any sides or ends that has collapsed, but luckily I took all the stock out before. Our cold house is just holding up and around 100 sheets of glass have gone from the other houses."

He added: "We have managed to save the nursery and continue trading but it's a very difficult time and trade is down 50 per cent on last year. We are hopeful though that we can make something of it this coming weekend, as long as we don't get any more snow."

On the issue of increased heating bills, Chichester-based Hill Brothers Nurseries production manager Peter Hill said: "There will of course be a cost for the extra energy we use during these conditions. Needless to say, whatever the cost is, we will not be passing it on to customers."

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