Horticultural Trades Association advocates for UK Environmental Horticulture at ‘Plants in Parliament’ event
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) delivered a drop-in showcase in Parliament on Tuesday, 28 November. This ushered in the festive season and underscored the importance of UK environmental horticulture. Sponsored by Heather Wheeler MP, the event attracted over 50 MPs, Peers, and staff, with positive conversations about green spaces and the sector.
The HTA talked about the industry's far-reaching benefits across various policy areas, including the economy, trade, environment, health, and wellbeing. Parliamentarians from Cornwall to Scotland, from very rural to urban areas, had the opportunity to engage with the sector firsthand. HTA members Jonathan Whittemore of Johnsons Nurseries and Laura Jackson from Swarkestone Nursery and Garden Centre, the providers of the showcased plants, joined the HTA team in representing the sector and shared valuable insights on how policymakers can best support the industry.
Heather Wheeler, MP, stated:
"I was delighted to extend a warm welcome to the environmental horticulture industry in Parliament, where they could showcase the immense value of this sector along with an array of captivating seasonal plants – all locally sourced by a nursery in my constituency of South Derbyshire. The Horticultural Trades Association, at this event, provided MPs with a first-hand insight into the numerous benefits of environmental horticulture, as well as a comprehensive understanding of the challenges the industry currently faces. It's an opportune moment to discuss how government support can further bolster this vital sector."
Jennifer Pheasey, HTA Director of Public Affairs, acknowledged the overwhelming support from those who attended:
"The event showed the level of support and interest by parliamentarians in UK environmental horticulture and the green spaces we deliver. Everyone we talked to about the value of plants, gardens and green spaces now knows a bit more about the sector behind it - £28.8bn GDP, nearly 700k jobs and 200 million garden centre visits a year. The HTA’s members are spread across the four corners and almost every UK parliamentary constituency. We were delighted to be able to engage across the political spectrum and build on getting greater recognition for environmental horticulture in Westminster.”
The festive spirit extended to the presentation of wreaths to five political parties, symbolising the unity and shared purpose of the season.
MPs and Peers, including Rt Hon Valerie Vaz MP and Baroness Bennett, took to Twitter (now X) to express their appreciation for the event, underscoring the value of plants to the UK's economy and environment.
Defra Minister Mark Spencer also voiced his support on X, stating:
"Delighted to support the @HTAnews. The Horticulture sector is not only important to our economy but has a huge positive effect on our environment."
The HTA looks forward to continuing its efforts to promote and advocate for the vital environmental horticulture industry in the UK.