Alban Hill Nurseries in Newport Pagnell hosted a visit by local Member of Parliament Ben Everitt on February 3, to showcase the business and raise issues impacting the horticulture industry, including the peat ban and the cost of doing business. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), which organized the visit, was also in attendance.
Mr. Everitt, who sits on the Levelling up and Communities Committee in Parliament and has a family background in agriculture, was given a tour of Alban Hill by Managing Director Nina Konig, who herself is relatively new to the industry.
Nina explained: “I was pleased to welcome Ben Everitt MP to Alban Hill Nurseries, it was a great opportunity to show him what we do for the local rural community. Like other businesses, we are facing challenges around energy and running costs. Additionally, ornamental (environmental) horticulture faces uncertainty over the use of peat and plant imports right now, which are directly impacting the business.”
David Lydiat, Public Affairs and Policy Manager at the HTA, was also at the visit and stated: “The environmental horticulture industry plays a significant role in the UK in terms of creating jobs, mitigating climate change, and improving people’s health. We welcomed Ben Everitt MP to showcase this, but also to highlight industry concerns such as how the peat ban will be implemented. Tree and plant growers need the time to be able to professionalize peat-free alternatives. It is important that those who can make and influence regulation on such issues can see and hear from those that it will impact the most.”
Following the visit, Ben Everitt, MP for Milton Keynes North, said: “I enjoyed a beautiful morning visiting Alban Hill to meet their team and the HTA to talk about the importance of horticulture and the current issues they are facing. It was fantastic to hear about their focus on buying British and to hear about the increase in people growing their own fruit and veg.”
Mr. Everitt said that he would raise the local nursery’s concerns in Parliament.