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HTA and Waterwise lobbying success to keep the nation gardening

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and Waterwise are delighted to announce that agreement has been reached with Thames, Anglian and South East water companies to allow gardeners to use drip irrigation during periods of water restrictions.

This comes as several water companies – Anglian, Thames, Southern, South East Water, Veolia Central and Veolia South East, Sutton and East Surrey today announce restrictions on the use of water in the south and east of England, which will come into effect on 5 April.

Tim Briercliffe, Director of Business Development for the HTA, comments, “We are delighted that Thames, Anglian and South East Water have taken on board the garden industry’s concerns by allowing drip irrigation to be exempt from the restrictions. This is subject to confirmation following the consultation period on the water companies’ plans.  This is a great win for gardeners and the industry and is a massive step forward from the position in 2006 where blanket hosepipe bans had a huge and costly impact on both. This is a significant result and follows several years of lobbying and relationship building with water companies.”

He adds, “Used correctly, drip irrigation is water efficient and there is clear evidence from other countries that its use contributes positively to the overall water-saving effort.This will allow the nation to keep on gardening this spring and summer and we are pleased that the water companies recognise this. There are, however, a few water companies who have not yet agreed to allow drip irrigation and we will be making our case to them over the next week (during the consultation period) encouraging them to follow suit for these reasons and for consistency of message to the nation’s 20 million gardeners. We will also be asking for concessions for newly landscaped gardens and turf to help protect our landscape members.”

The HTA has been lobbying for the introduction of a phased approach to water restrictions rather than blanket hosepipe bans. This work will continue into the future, building on existing commitment from a number of water companies, although it is recognised that 2012 is an extreme year where it has been necessary to bring in water restrictions early in the season.

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