HTA response to the Safeguarding the Union command paper

The government has published the details of the new 24 point plan for ‘safeguarding the union’ including legislation of Northern Ireland’s status in the UK and the replacement of the ‘green lane’ for goods in the Windsor Framework.

Union jack flag

According to the government the deal strengthens the UK Internal Market and the Union in the long term, while ensuring the whole of the UK can benefit from the freedoms delivered by Brexit. It builds on the progress under the Windsor Framework and offers a brighter future for Northern Ireland.

Jennifer Pheasey, Director of Public Affairs at the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), responds to the Safeguarding the Union: Command Paper:

“The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) welcomes the announcement of the rapid establishment of a Horticulture Working Group on Great Britain-Northern Ireland trade. Such a forum has been a key ask of the HTA since the Windsor Agreement was published. The HTA and its members are already part of a new Mail Order Plants working group. We are keen to ensure any additional new group covers the urgent unlocking of the wider trade barriers and prohibitions faced by the horticultural trade. As the Command Paper recognises, the trade in trees, plants, seed potatoes, seeds and other plant products is important, and it is critical that the government works closely with industry experts to ensure the ambitious words become a reality.

“Key issues, such as expanding the list of tree species that can move across the border and direct to consumer trade, including for seed potatoes, remain top concerns for UK horticulture. We look forward to understanding more about expected timeframes for changes, including what requires EU ratification, what this means for high-risk plants and plant products, and how swiftly we can find and implement solutions and see the opportunity for trade to resume meaningfully. We remain disappointed that trade has been lost, and much uncertainty remains. We welcome the engagement we have had with government and policy-makers over recent months and, as a sector, remain optimistic and committed to working constructively to maximise the opportunity for UK horticulture.”

The HTA is the leading trade association representing and supporting businesses in the UK garden industry. With a membership comprising retailers, growers, manufacturers, and landscapers, the HTA actively advocates for the sector, fostering growth, sustainability, and innovation. The HTA is also a member of the AIPH, European Nurserystock Association (ENA), European Forestry Nursery Association (EFNA) and Growing Media Europe (GME).