Environmental Horticulture – a green growth sector
For a sector that can make a real impact when it comes to net-zero, look no further than Environmental Horticulture.
The UK’s 25-year Environment plan cannot be achieved without the horticulture sector. That is why our industry is fast being recognised as ‘Environmental Horticulture’.
This definition can be attributed to tree and plant growers, garden centres, landscapers, manufacturers and service providers. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) represents 1500 members across this entire UK supply chain.
The HTA footprint extends to 87% of MPs constituencies and with 30 million gardening enthusiasts in the UK, a £6.8bn tax revenue contribution and 675,000 jobs supported, Environmental Horticulture’s significance across the entire nation should not be underestimated.
You may have seen our advertorial page in ‘Greening the Nation’ in the House Magazine last week. This included key statistics and asks to support our industry unlock its green growth potential.
With protecting the environment and the impact of climate change now rightly at the forefront of policy-makers minds, we must look to the enablers of both meeting green targets, but also tangibly making a difference to our natural world and every living thing that depends on it.
So what does Environmental Horticulture have to offer?
- Enhances resilience – in terms of economy, environment and health
- Mitigates air pollution – particularly in towns and cities through urban greening.
- Creates the habitats that wildlife need to thrive.
- Enhances beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment.
- Supports achieving net-zero ambitions and can address climate change impacts such as flooding.
- Enhances UK biosecurity through industry expertise and best practice.
COP27 reiterated the need to address the climate crisis and limit temperature rises. Whilst the announcement of the Adaptation Fund and the Loss and Damage Fund was welcomed, solid mitigation commitments were notably missing.
With extreme heat across the UK this summer and drought conditions that are likely to continue, mitigation is key to protecting the most vulnerable. Vegetation cover, green spaces and the horticulture industry can help to deliver this.
Recent research has found that greening our cities could also lead to a boost in eco-tourism. To increase the appeal of cities as tourist destinations, their green spaces are being emphasised due to the benefits that horticulture provides. These benefits range from a reduction in noise and air pollution, to enhanced biodiversity and the impact on mental and physical wellbeing that green spaces have.
Greening urban environments, especially in areas of deprivation is key if we are to address unequal access to green spaces and the subsequent social, environmental, economic and health benefits they deliver.
How can Westminster support our industry in these endeavours?
- Recognise and champion environmental horticulture and its role in the UK economy, environmental ambitions and health.
- Targeted grants and incentives for tree and plant growers to create new reservoirs to mitigate drought and extreme weather.
- Support investment in innovation to grow more UK trees and plants
- Allow our businesses to access the workforce needed to grow trees and plants
- Ensure importing plant goods is a seamless trade flow process
- Help to promote UK horticulture exports globally
- Ensure investment in horticultural education and skills
- Reduce the cost of doing business and red tape
- Encourage a greener planning system
- Support research and development in peat-free growing media.
To summarise: UK Environmental Horticulture means; greener growth, greener environment and greener well-being.
We would love to hear from MPs and Peers who would advocate and champion our green industry; contact email@example.com or visit hta.org.uk/policy.
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