Memorandum from the Institute of Horticulture
1. The Institute of Horticulture (IoH) is
the professional body representing the discipline of Horticulture
in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The Institute's
members pursue careers in throughout production, environmental
and social horticulture. The Institute is a member of the Biosciences
Federation (BSF) and an Affiliated Society to the Institute of
2. The IoH has been party to the formulation
of the submissions made to this Inquiry by both BSF and IoB and
supports them. The IOH, however, provides the following additional
information and views specifically with regard to the lack of
provision now made in the UK for the study of Horticulture as
a discipline in the higher educational sector.
3. Over the past 10-15 years 75% of the
UK's provision for the study of Horticulture and Horticultural
Science in research lead universities has disappeared.
4. The incorporated colleges with affiliations
to neighbouring universities provide a tactical response to the
loss of research based higher educational provision with, for
example, courses for students of micro landscape design and management,
arboriculture and turf science.
5. The nation is now failing to supply sufficient
applied science graduates capable of providing the strategic vision
needed to ensure the continuation of a viable discipline of horticulture.
This supply underpins the industry sectors exploiting the business
opportunities presented by the control of plant growth and reproduction.
These businesses are an essential part of national wealth creation
and safeguard an assured continuation of fruit and vegetable supplies,
the sustainable management of the fabric of our urban and rural
public green spaces and application of plants and their products
for social welfare and well-being.
6. By contrast, the Government is making
substantial financial provision to support its recognition of
the importance of horticultural products in their contribution
to national health, welfare and well being. The "5-a-day
programme" funded by the Departments of Education and Skills
and Health identify the opportunities that the consumption of
fruit and vegetables make to reducing cancer and coronary diseases.
Through the Commission for the Built Environment (CABE)'s commitment
to the importance of urban green space the Office of the Deputy
Prime Minister seeks to enhance and sustain the physical and mental
welfare and well-being of our population.
7. These products of horticulture cannot
be made available sustainably without the necessary scientifically
educated staff specialised in the discipline of Horticulture who
are required for middle and upper management. Skills gaps have
been identified across the discipline of Horticulture and they
are now at their most critical in the national shortage of scientifically
qualified strategists needed to fill middle and upper management
ranks in all aspects of the discipline.
8. Measures aiming to increase this Nation's
supply of science based horticultural graduates are urgently required.
9. The Institute, in line with Government
policy on openness and Science and Society Select Committee recommendations,
are pleased for this response to be publicly available and, with
permission will place a version on www.horticulture.org.uk and
in the Institute's journal The Horticulturist.
10. Should the House of Commons Science
and Technology Committee require further information or have queries
regarding this response then they should in the first instance
address these to: Mrs Angela Clarke, General Secretary, The Institute
of Horticulture, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London SW1 8PS; email: