Memorandum submitted by Lea Valley Growers'
Association (D 37)
This Association is a local specialist glasshouse
branch of the National Farmers' Union, having in its membership
some two hundred growers of horticultural crops, almost entirely
under glass, covering some 225 acres in the Lea Valley which lies
on the border between the counties of Hertfordshire and Essex.
The principal crops grown in the Lea Valley
are salads, especially cucumbers and lettuces, but there are also
significant acreages of ornamental cropsbedding & pot
plants, aquatics, and cut flowers.
Our glasshouse grower members have reacted with
alarm at the re-structuring proposals of HRI, and in particular
the proposal for the closure of Stockbridge House in Yorkshire.
This station's work has been particularly relevant to the Lea
Valley, since it has majored in cucumbers, which is by far the
principal crop in this area. The glasshouse industry needs research
and development, and the glasshouse grower needs that R&D
to be transferred into technological advance on the nursery. Stockbridge
House has been a major force in technology transfer, and its closure
will have a dramatic effect on such transfer.
Our grower Members are also very concerned at
the consequences of the re-structuring proposals on the Specific
Off-Label Approval programme. The SOLA programme is essential
for glasshouse growers, and we seriously wonder whether HRI will
be able in the future to deliver an effective SOLA programme.
We urge HRI to re-consider its proposals and
to seek more positive ways to restructure its operation. The future
of the UK glasshouse industry may depend on it.
29 November 2000