Latest phase of the horticulture inquiry shifts focus

The House of Lords inquiry into the horticulture sector has heard evidence on soil quality, a peat-free future and trade.

On 6 July the House of Lords Horticultural Sector Committee hosted two sessions, with the first featuring guests Ben Raskin, head of horticulture and agroforestry at the Soil Association; Professor Duncan Cameron, chair in environmental sustainability, earth and environmental sciences at the University of Manchester; and Ben Malin, managing director at EJ Godwin.

The second session included Sandy Shepherd, managing director at Ball Colegrave; Nigel Jenney, chief executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium; and Jennifer Pheasey, director of public affairs at the Horticultural Trades Association.

Topics covered included:

  • The greatest risks to soil health and how these might impact the horticultural sector.
  • The government’s targets to ban the use of peat in the retail and professional sectors.
  • Environmental challenges presented by artificial pesticides and fertilisers and how growers can be supported to transition to more sustainable approaches.
  • How the proposed Target Operating Model will impact the trade in horticultural produce.
  • The effectiveness of the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) rules and their implications for businesses in the horticultural sector.
  • Biosecurity concerns raised by the import and export of horticultural produce.

The committee will publish its report by the end of this year.