Sir Paul Beresford MP met with the HTA and Knights Garden Centre on Thursday to discuss policy issues impacting the horticulture industry.
Director Andy Knight and manager Martin Lines, alongside HTA’s David Lydiat, invited the Mole Valley MP to the Betchworth store. On the agenda was the cost of doing business, import checks at borders, the effect of bringing forward a potential peat ban and planning permission to expand their business.
Knight said: “We were pleased to welcome Sir Paul, who spent a long time with us discussing our experiences and concerns. Horticulture businesses are facing several challenges at the moment as we enter our peak season. Businesses need certainty to plan for the future and we appreciate Sir Paul’s support.”
Beresford, whose career included time as an Environment Minister, was concerned by the amount of regulation and its negative impact on running a business in horticulture. He said, “Spring having arrived means plant nurseries are in demand. I paid a visit to Knights in Betchworth, a busy store, and met with the HTA for a briefing which I will take up with ministers to ease pressure on hard-working nurseries and their suppliers.”
Lydiat, who is public affairs and policy manager for the HTA, added, “HTA members face a raft of regulation and administration. We want to see the government supporting UK horticulture businesses on key issues such as the transition away from using peat, plant checks at borders and red tape. We welcome stakeholders such as Sir Paul who can articulate our concerns in parliament. A thriving UK environmental horticulture industry is crucial to jobs, the economy, mitigating climate change and people’s health.”