Brits are being told to expect flower shortages and increased prices in the run up to Valentine’s Day.
Chris Bonnett, founder of GardeningExpress is warning Britons we could see less flowers as well as an increase in prices ahead of February 14th due to Brexit border checks.
The flower shortages are a result of new checks with the EU which will require European importers to provide health certificates for animal and plant products with physical inspections taking place from April.
Currently physical inspections can take place at garden centres where plants are still cared for whilst they await examination.
The new rules mean that checks will take place at ports where plants will be at risk from sitting in delayed lorries for hours, damaging the goods.
Plants that require certificates will be those that are deemed as ‘medium and high risk’ such as Chrysanthemums and Orchids which are commonly given on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Thousands of partners will be left disappointed this year with many expected to miss out on bouquets on their special day.
Chris Bonnett said: “The timings of these changes couldn’t be worse for the horticulture industry. This is our peak season with Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day approaching.
“This has been and will continue to cause massive disruption for us and unfortunately consumers will also be taking the hit.
“There is likely to be a widespread shortage so don’t be surprised if you can’t get your hands on some flowers for your Valentine this year.
“If you do find some flowers then it’s likely that they will now be more expensive too. Even some of our favourite house plants will be increasing in cost which is a real shame for everyone.”
Chris continued: “Many experts within the industry have tried to call on the government to delay this change until 2025, but with it already being postponed five times since 2021, ministers are unlikely to push this back again.
“Flowers are extremely delicate goods that require care. The current system allows plants to be taken to garden centres where they can be cared for before inspections take place. With the new rules, plants could be sitting in lorries for hours before they are examined.
“Not only will there be a delay in getting the products, but it’s now likely that the goods could be damaged upon arrival”
“We’re calling for more to be done – there have been so many delays up until this point that ministers need to give us a fairer chance at being prepared for such a change.
“Not only will this give everyone more time but it will minimise the effects on consumers too. Increasing the prices of flowers and plants and having shortages on two big occasions just isn’t fair.
“Waiting until 2025 will spare the tears of mums and partners everywhere and give the sector time to prepare for the change so that minimal disruption is caused.”