The Government introduced its Environment Bill to Parliament on Thursday and the Horticultural Trades Association has issue its response.
James Clark, Director of Policy and Communications at the HTA, said: “Horticulture and green infrastructure have such a huge role to play in mitigating climate change, delivering the Government’s ambitious aim of being net-zero by 2050 and creating a greener Britain.
“The introduction of the Environment Bill signifies the importance that Government is placing on the environment by putting the 25-year Environment Plan on a statutory footing. A strong and vibrant horticulture sector is key to delivering many of the policy targets outlined in the Bill and we will be highlighting to Government how the industry can contribute.
“On recycling, it is paramount that there is a consistent approach across all local authorities. If all local authorities collected and recycled plant pots this would prevent 8,000 tonnes a year going to landfill. When developing plans around increased producer responsibility for waste it will be important that the Government engages with business to ensure that changes do not result in excessive burden, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
“Finally, horticulture makes a significant contribution to improving air quality. Increased planting of trees and shrubs in public and private spaces, especially in towns and cities, will reduce the impact of poor air quality. In order to fulfil increased demand for UK grown plants and trees, the UK nursery production sector will require investment in infrastructure.”
The HTA also issued a comment regarding the UK’s exit from the EU which took place on Friday.
James Clark said: “Following the UK’s exit from the EU the delivery of a viable and realistic trade deal over the next 11 months will be challenging but critical. There are so many areas impacting on horticulture – from alignment on customs and excise, trade with Northern Ireland, biosecurity, environmental standards and immigration. It is important that a sensible and pragmatic approach is taken which allows for seamless trading without additional burden for horticultural businesses.
“Horticulture plays such an important role in the UK’s future from an environmental and economic perspective. With a new landscape ahead of us there will be opportunities presented such as the repurposing of EU monies for wider environment initiatives. We will be making sure that the voice of horticulture is heard in the discussions over the coming months.”