January brought the sad news that Peter Seabrook FCIHort, MBE passed away suddenly after a heart attack aged 86. Peter, a long-standing member of the Institute, joining in 1984, had a distinguished career as a writer, broadcaster and was an inspirational horticulturist. A champion of our industry, he was always at the forefront of topical matters, not afraid to challenge current thinking. His passing is a great loss to our industry.

It is with great sadness that we have to inform members and friends that Derek Hargreaves FCIHort passed away peacefully on 16th January at a nursing home in Beverley after a short illness. Derek was a founder member of the Institute of Horticulture as it was then, and served as Chair of the Northern Branch between 2013-2015, and Treasurer 2016-present. Derek was well known throughout England and abroad as a consultant to the protected cropping industry, specialising in the cultivation of cucumbers and tomatoes. 

The education committee have recently met to progress CPD provision. The deadline for submitting your CPD (Chartered members only) was the end of January. If you have not already done so please send it to cih@horticulture.org.uk

It was noted that we are seeing more and more career changers entering the industry. Along with many other organisations, we will be looking at the qualifications available.

We successfully ran the Chartership workshop in January, over 20 people attended. The aim of the workshop was to provide more information on being Chartered and help people navigate the process. Participants have been encouraged to complete their application and contact   developmentofficer@horticulture.org.uk If you need any assistance or have specific queries. We are looking forward to receiving your application.

The 2022 Young Horticulturist of the Year competition has been launched, with round one open for all of February. Regional finals will take place across Great Britain and Ireland throughout March with the final taking place at the University of Warwick on 7th May 2022.

Industry news

The industry is still facing massive challenges. The labour shortage continues to cause concern.   The Seasonal Workers Pilot (SWP) has been extended to horticulture ornamental sector.  The extended pilot will have a total of 30,000 visas available with a possibility of extending by an additional 10,000. Whilst this is good news it is a long way from bridging the gap.

DEFRA— A Consultation on Biodiversity Net Gain Regulations and Implementation has been launched. Members are encouraged to respond to the consultation to help shape developing legislation and guidance.  Consultation closes 5th April 2022.  The CIH are working with industry partners closely on this and other government legislation and regulation affecting horticulture to ensure industry has a voice within government, helping to shape policy.

DEFRA – The consultation on ‘Ending retail sale of peat in horticulture in England and Wales’ closes on 18th of March. You have plenty of time to make your views known.

As we move towards the spring, I feel confident that things are beginning to return to normality, although I recognise that so much has changed.

Susan Nicholas FCIHort