Baroness Fookes leads parliamentary debate and urges government to support British ornamental horticulture and landscaping

LONDON, UK: Baroness Fookes, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ornamental Horticulture, will today lead a parliamentary debate in the House of Lords on ‘Supporting the provision of careers in the horticultural sector and its role in protecting the environment’.

In the debate, Baroness Fookes is likely to highlight the huge economic potential of the ornamental horticulture, arboriculture and landscaping industry, the recruitment and skills challenges that are currently holding that economic growth potential back, and how ornamental horticulture and landscaping play a vital role in delivering world-leading biodiversity and environmental sustainability.

Recent research from the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group (OHRG) found that across the UK ornamental horticulture and landscaping sector, 10 per cent of supervisor roles, 14 per cent of skilled trade roles, and 11 per cent of professional/technical roles remain open. If these shortfalls remain, the cost to the UK’s economy is projected to be £1.4 billion per year in lost direct GDP contributions by 2030.

With the total GDP of the UK’s ornamental horticulture and landscaping industries projected to grow to almost £42 billion by 2030, it is vital that the government works with the sector to ensure it reaches its full potential.

The debate comes amid industry calls for the government to ensure that the UK’s ornamental horticulture, arboriculture and landscaping industries are included within the government’s definition of ‘green jobs’. There are also industry concerns that Defra is excluding ornamental horticulture from its growth plan whilst boosting home grown fruit and vegetables and supporting high-tech horticulture.

Chair of the OHRG, Boyd J Douglas-Davies, said: “I’m delighted that Baroness Fookes has secured this debate in Parliament, and that Peers will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities that the ornamental horticulture and landscaping industries face, particularly in relation to careers and the environment.

“It is vital that our sector works with the government towards achieving our shared objectives of upskilling the workforce, protecting our environment and securing vital economic growth.”

The Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable (OHRG) is a sector led group formed in 2014 with support from Defra to strengthen co-operation between UK government and the ornamental horticulture, landscape and gardening industry. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is one of the lead members of the OHRG, its former President Boyd Douglas-Davies is the new OHRG Chairman, and HTA Chairman James Barnes also chairs the OHRG’s Commercial Committee.

Other members of the OHRG include: Arboricultural Association, British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), Chartered Institute of Horticulture,  Horticulture Innovation Partnership, Horticultural Trades Association, Landex, National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

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