Reopening garden centres, while prioritising safety of staff and customers, could improve the availability and supply of bird food products, contributing to the welfare and conservation of wild birds.
Published on 21 April 2020
PFMA support the HTA’s Garden Centre Reopening Campaign and agree that garden centres should be included in the first phase of easing lockdown restrictions provided new measures are in place to protect public safety.
All UK garden centres closed on 23 March 2020, following the Government’s measures to reduce social contact. As a result, they have been struggling with around £200m worth of plants that could be lost.
This has had an immediate impact on bird food manufacturers, given over one fifth of bird food products are sold in garden centres. Richard Johnston, Managing Director of Johnston and Jeff Ltd, and Chair of PFMA Bird Group remarked:
“The 23rd March 2020 is a date we will never forget, due to the immediate effect of the lockdown. We almost instantly saw all garden centres close - some so quickly and unexpectedly that deliveries were still on their way and were turned around when confronted with closed gates.”
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) have highlighted their preparation work in setting out a series of social distancing protocols on what a garden centre reopening could envisage. In their latest statement on 20 April they said: “We are promoting to Government and MPs that if they do move to a phased review of the current lockdown situation before the three week period ends, garden centres are well placed to be in that first phase.”
PFMA and its Bird Group members support the position of HTA and agree that garden centres should be included in the first phase of easing lockdown restrictions provided the necessary measures are in place to prioritise safety of staff and customers.
This move could improve the availability and supply of bird food products, contributing to the welfare and conservation of wild birds. This could also play a part in the mental health and wellbeing of those individuals, many of whom are among older and more vulnerable groups, who regularly feed wild birds (over 60% of people that are over the age of 65, and have outdoor space at home, feed wild birds – PFMA Market Research 2020).
Details of the HTA’s Garden Centre Reopening Campaign and how to support it can be found via this link.