Today (16 March), HTA Chairman James Barnes gave evidence to the House of Lords Inquiry into the development of horticulture. The year-long Special Inquiry is a chance for the voice, value and profile of environmental horticulture to be properly recognised in Parliament.
HTA’s evidence focused on the value and contribution of the sector to the UK economy, environment, and biodiversity. The sector contributes £28.8bn to GDP, generating £6.3bn in tax revenues and supports 674,000 jobs across retail, growers, landscapers, manufacturers and the supply chain and underwrites half of the 25-year Environment Plan. Plus, with regular gardeners totalling 30 million, the mental and physical benefits of being in nature-based spaces are well established. Barnes set out the potential to boost all these benefits if the right conditions are set, and levers pulled.
James Barnes, HTA Chairman, stated, “The value of our sector cannot be disputed – from the economic growth to environmental resilience, from boosting health and air quality to delivering on valuable jobs and levelling up – we have tangible evidence where we make a difference. So often, gardening and horticulture has been under-appreciated by policy-makers. Yet, it is a passion and core part of life for not just those of us who work in it but the millions of gardeners and green spaces across the four corners of the UK. HTA members and their customers alone cannot deliver the potential we have. Parliamentarians and policy-makers must recognise this with a long-term approach and removing barriers we can as a nation unlock green growth and greater green spaces.”
This evidence session builds on HTAs commitment to supporting the committee’s work, which thus far has included meeting HTA members at the Garden Press Event, briefings, a private briefing, and today’s opportunity. HTA will shortly submit written evidence to the Committee and work with partners through the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group to further deliver contributions to the Inquiry.