Last week (Friday 14 October), HTA chairman James Barnes, represented the horticultural sector at the National Drought Group meeting, attended by the new environment minister, Trudy Harrison MP. HTA notes the challenge and pressures of the drought on many of its members, especially growers, and with water restriction advice or measures still in place in many locations across the UK, the issue has not gone away.
Made up of senior decision-makers from Environment Agency, government, water companies, Water UK, and other groups, the National Drought Group was briefed on the weather and water level outlook – with expectations that water levels would continue to be challenging in 2023.
James Barnes, HTA chairman, commented “The HTA stance on this is that whilst we continue to encourage the sharing of best practice and investment amongst all our members to utilise all conservation measures at their disposal, we also highlight the need for the water companies to continue not to restrict supply to this strategically important sector with very high-value crops at risk. As well as in the longer term to invest in the necessary infrastructure to minimise shortfalls in supply”.
HTA recommends its members review its ‘How-to’ guides and take steps to make savings and be winter ready. Further advice and guidance is being developed.