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Sun, 14 April 2024

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HTA trade event marks 10 weeks to critical border shift and urgent call on government action

Horticultural Trades Association

2 min read Partner content

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) organised another of its borders and trade workshops earlier today. The session, kindly hosted by Provender Nurseries, aimed to equip members with the necessary knowledge and skills to trade internationally. It's another example of how the horticulture industry is always adapting to maintain robust and secure supply chains.

This workshop took place ten weeks before the UK government's planned switch-off of the Place of Destination (PoD) system on 30th April, when Border Control Points (BCPs) are set to become operational. The HTA is urging the government to keep PoDs successfully and securely delivering for the plant trade until BCPs and alternative border routes are fully operational, viable, affordable, and tested.

The HTA is calling on the government to listen and take action to safeguard the thousands of growers, retailers, suppliers, landscapers, and millions of gardeners whom this change will impact.

Sally Cullimore, HTA Technical Policy Manager, who led today’s workshop, commented:

“We thank Provender Nurseries for hosting the sector today, a best practice example of an environmental horticulture business sharing their efforts on managing imports and some of the challenges. We need the UK government to take industry concerns as seriously as we do. The April date is just ten weeks away, and despite repeated meetings, calls and requests, we are none the wiser about how much it will cost and how BCPs will manage complex, high-risk plant loads safely and securely.

“The environmental horticulture sector has already spent at least £30 million to adapt; this new change will be more costly with no material gain. That is why we need urgent action to deliver on the HTA’s ask for at-site checks to continue as our priority. In addition, we have three clear asks: Firstly, we urgently need to see the outcome of the Common User Charge consultation to be at both a low-cost level and charged per phytosanitary consignment. Secondly, we need clear communication on the outstanding details of Border Control Points (BCPs) and how they will handle high-risk plants and plant products. Thirdly, we need to know the capacity and capability of BCPs to deal with the plant trade, and that is all before we even tackle accessibility to Authorised Operator Status and address hurdles to becoming a Control Point.”  

Richard McKenna, Managing Director of Provender Nurseries, stated:

“The seamless, smooth and secure movement of plants is the top priority for our business and customers. We are experts in this and resilient, but the unknowns on the border changes mean we cannot make the urgent and informed investment decisions needed to have any confidence beyond 29 April.”

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