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Major changes in the horticultural industry in 2024

3rd January 2024

Here are some of the major changes that are happening in the horticultural industry this year:

Plant passport UK

Following on from the introduction of plant passport measures in the UK on the 1st of January 2021, The Plant Health (Amendment) Regulations 2024, which came into force on the 1st of January 2024, has introduced significant changes to the plant passport scheme in the UK. This includes:

  • A new digital plant passport system that will be available to all users from April 2024.
  • Mandatory plant passports for a wider range of plants and plant products.
  • Tougher penalties for anyone who fails to comply with the plant passport regulations.

These changes are designed to improve the protection of plant health in the UK and to prevent the introduction of new pests and diseases.

Find more specific information from DEFRA here (Visit

BTOM (Border Target Operating Model)

From January 2024, the UK has introduced new border control measures for plants and plant products entering the country. These measures are designed to:

  • Prevent the introduction of new pests and diseases.
  • Protect the UK’s horticulture industry.
  • Ensure that plant and plant products meet the necessary safety standards.

All plants and plant products entering the UK must now be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. The requirements for the phytosanitary certificate vary depending on the type of plant or plant product.

The new border control system will include SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary) mechanisms that are applied worldwide to implement import controls not only in horticulture but for certain foodstuffs. Some of the key elements are:

  • To maintain and improve biosecurity in regards to goods in the EU and
  • To reduce checks at the Border with better segmentation of risk.
  • To use trusted trader and assurance schemes to obtain certain assurances away from the border.

DEFRA are running webinars that will delve into more detail about how the BTOM could affect your business.

Find more information on changes to border controls for certain plants species here (Visit

Plastic tax regulations

The government introduced a plastic packaging tax, which came into force on the 1st of April 2022. This tax applies to all businesses that manufacture, import, or supply plastic packaging that does not meet certain recycling criteria.

The plastic packaging tax is designed to encourage businesses to use less plastic packaging and to support the development of a more circular economy.

We can help you with other options if you are looking to reduce your plastic tax contribution.

Further changes within the horticultural industry

In addition to the above changes, there are several other changes taking place in the horticultural and agricultural industries in 2024. These include:

  • The increasing popularity of vertical farming and other forms of controlled-environment agriculture.
  • The growing demand for organic and sustainable horticultural products.
  • The increasing use of technology in horticulture, such as drones, sensors, and artificial intelligence.
  • The phasing out of peat from all horticultural growing media by end of the year.

These changes are all contributing to the transformation of the horticultural industry. The industry is becoming increasingly efficient, sustainable, and innovative.

Here are some specific examples of how these changes are impacting the industry:

  • The new plant passport system is making it easier for businesses to trade plants and plant products across borders.
  • The new border control measures are helping to protect the UK’s horticultural industry from new pests and diseases.
  • The plastic packaging tax is encouraging businesses to use less plastic packaging and to develop more sustainable alternatives.
  • The increased popularity of vertical farming is making it possible to grow crops in urban areas and other locations where traditional agriculture is not feasible.
  • The growing demand for organic and sustainable horticultural products is forcing businesses to adopt more environmentally friendly practices.
  • The increasing use of technology in horticulture is automating many tasks, such as pest control and irrigation, and making it possible to collect and analyse data to improve crop yields and reduce waste.

These changes are creating new opportunities for businesses in the horticultural industry. For example, businesses that can develop innovative solutions to meet the challenges of the industry will be well-positioned to succeed.