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• This note describes the background of the horticulture industry, and some policy areas involving it. Planning issues arising from polytunnels are covered in another note, Farm Diversification, Countryside and Planning (SN/SC/3158).

• Horticulture did not benefit from the traditional Common Agricultural Policy. However, the 2003 reform brought horticulture within the Single Farm Payment System.

• Seasonal labour shortage is often a problem for horticulture, with the industry relying heavily upon temporary immigration. That has operated under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme. However, that scheme has been considerably reduced in scope, partly because of the expansion of the European Union and is now limited to those from Romania and Bulgaria.

• There has been concern that gardeners buy exotic foreign plants to create a special effect. If the plants spread, they may lack natural predators and become a pest. The Labour Government introduced a code of practice.

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