Memorandum submitted by the Chairman,
Johnsons of Whixley Ltd (D 13)
I have had an excellent working relationship
with Stockbridge House for the past 43 years on crops ranging
from rhubarb to salads and nursery stock.
I find the proposed demise of this highly efficient
and well respected HRI facility quite inconceivable. In the last
two years I have visited growers in many EC countries and have
become extremely concerned at the overall support for growers
in these countries, and the problems for British growers in competing
with increased competitor technology in addition to the adverse
effect of the high value of sterling.
The survival of the SOLA system is essential
to nursery stock growers who grow an extremely wide range of plants
in limited numbers. We are very concerned that HRI will be unable
to provide safe pesticides from a significantly reduced facility.
We are fully aware that our requirements and concerns are mirrored
throughout the different sectors of horticulture.
It is difficult to believe that HRI can afford
the loss of highly skilled and motivated scientific staff who
almost without exception have developed relationships with the
industry which will take years to re-establish. Even worse, there
can be little motivation for the best young scientists to enter
horticultural research in view of the growing reputation for cut-backs
As a company we find the proposal to close Stockbridge
House to be totally unacceptable and a serious retrograde step
in the development of an internationally competitive horticultural
17 November 2000