Garden Centres Rush to Stockpile Plants Ahead of Brexit Border Checks

Garden centres and nurseries across the UK are engaged in a frantic race to stockpile plants before the implementation of Brexit border checks later this month.

Concerns abound regarding the readiness of border posts to handle the influx of deliveries, prompting businesses to take preemptive measures to safeguard their supplies.

The Horticultural Trade Association (HTA), representing garden retailers and growers, reports a surge in orders as members seek to bolster their stocks before the impending checks commence on 30 April. With suppliers on the continent expressing apprehension about potential delays at border control posts (BCPs), many businesses are accelerating deliveries to mitigate risks.

Government plans to introduce physical checks for plant and animal products entering Britain from the EU have raised concerns among industry players. The new border target operating model (Btom) aims to enforce stringent checks at designated BCP facilities, raising uncertainties about operational efficiency and potential disruptions.

According to a survey conducted by the HTA, 41% of its members plan to expedite deliveries in anticipation of the border checks. Sally Cullimore, the HTA’s technical policy manager, highlights widespread concerns about the adequacy of border control infrastructure, particularly in handling loading and unloading procedures. The timing of these checks coincides with the peak trading weeks for horticulture, exacerbating anxieties within the industry.

Businesses are primarily focusing on stockpiling wooded plants, shrubs, and perennials with longer shelf lives to minimize potential losses. Martin Emmett, chair of the NFU’s horticulture and potatoes board, notes the strategic importation of products with longer production schedules to ensure flexibility and mitigate risks associated with border delays.

However, challenges persist as some suppliers on the continent opt to withhold deliveries for several weeks following the implementation of border checks. Richard McKenna of Provender Nurseries highlights disruptions caused by suppliers in Ireland, the Netherlands, and France, exacerbating supply chain uncertainties.

While the government reassures businesses of its preparedness to handle the volume and type of expected checks, industry stakeholders remain vigilant. Collaboration between authorities and the horticultural sector is essential to navigate the complexities of Brexit border checks and mitigate potential disruptions to supply chains.

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Garden Centres Rush to Stockpile Plants Ahead of Brexit Border Checks