28 February 2023
The UK’s Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has welcomed parts of the deal struck between the UK and EU regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol – stating that ‘real trade can resume again’ for HTA members in Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
The BBC reported that the Prime Minister highlighted the horticulture sector in his remarks to journalists: “We have protected Northern Ireland’s place in the Union,” he told reporters gathered in Windsor, saying the new deal ensures that the same “quintessentially British” products will once again be available in Northern Ireland. This includes trees and seeds in garden centres, he said.
Significantly details affecting the Environmental Horticulture Sector include:
The new rules are expected to be in place in the Autumn, with the high risk plants prohibition being lifted around the same time.
Fran Barnes CEO of the HTA commented: “The HTA have been working hard to ensure our GB and NI members can trade again as a matter of urgency; we are pleased that common sense has prevailed in this agreement and much of what we have asked for has been listened to. Unfortunately, much damage has already been done to the trade in plants between Great Britain and Northern Ireland as previously our members could trade freely and there has been significant loss of business. This is something which they will not get back over night. However, we welcome these moves that will increase the freedom to trade for our members so that their businesses can flourish and take advantage of long held supply relationships once again.
We note that this agreement is likely to take some time to be operational- but we hope it can be introduced smoothly and swiftly. This is an important opportunity for a sector like ours that contributes so much to environmental targets in the UK and Europe.”