Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th June 2022.

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Photo of Wendy Chamberlain Wendy Chamberlain Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that tree and plant growers are globally competitive and able to meet demand.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We have already made £1 million available to UK nurseries and seed suppliers through the Tree Production Innovation Fund to encourage the adoption of innovative technologies and ways of working in the nursery sector. We have also opened a new Tree Production Capital Grant, providing capital support to modernise facilities and improve the quantity, quality, diversity, and biosecurity of sapling supply. These actions are fulfilling commitments made in the England Trees Action Plan, highlighting the vital role of these sectors to support our ambitions on tree planting, woodland creation and management.

With production of ornamentals being worth £1.4 billion in the UK at farm-gate in 2020, the Government recognises the importance of the ornamental horticultural industry sector both to local economies and to people's well-being. Defra meets regularly with the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group (OHRG), who last year published their ‘Unlocking green growth: A plan from the ornamental horticulture & landscaping industry’. This identifies how barriers to the sector’s growth can be unlocked through a collaborative approach between government and industry. We are currently working with the OHRG on the opportunities outlined in their plan to accelerate the sector's growth.

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