***CHAIRMAN'S REPORT 2020***
This report has been written in place of the individual Officers delivering reports for our planned AGM on 7th December 2020. The AGM has been cancelled due to the difficulties in holding it remotely with the current Covid -19 restrictions. This decision was agreed and minuted at our online committee meeting on 2nd November.
In the absence of the AGM all the existing committee, including the Officers, have agreed to stay on for a further year.
Our financial accounts for the y/e 31st October 2020 have been audited and placed in the minutes file along with the Treasurer's report. If you would like a copy please send an email to HGAmembership@gmail.com.
We opened our trading store on the first Sunday in February as normal, enrolling members and looking forward to our Spring and Autumn shows, plant sale, social evening and planned trips to the gardens at Wisley and Highgrove. Sadly we were forced to close in late March following the Government's lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic and regrettably due to the restrictions we were required to cancel all our planned shows and other events for the year.
Following the Government's revision of its guidelines on non-essential services in May, we reviewed our own situation regarding the Barn Store. We felt the restrictions on social distancing and other factors prevented us opening in our customary manner. However we decided to introduce a limited "order and collection service" via our website. I am pleased to say this proved very successful with members and continued until we closed in late October. Due to problems with suppliers and manufacturers caused by the pandemic, we were unable to restock our supplies of compost, manure etc. later in the season. The store will be restocked in time for next season.
Due to our closure in March our membership renewals and new members are down on previous years, but we still finished the year with 261 members. Your committee have decided there is no need to change the annual subscription charge, which will remain at £5 and £3 for members 60 & over.
We are looking at the possibility of opening the Barn Store at the beginning of February 2021 as usual but this will depend on the Covid 19 restriction at that time and our own ability to manage the situation safely. If we feel unable to open normally then we will continue with our "order & collection service" and expand the list of products on our website.
We will send out a further email in early January to advise you of the situation. In the meantime if you have any questions please contact us through our HGA email address HGAmembership@gmail.com.
Finally may I take this opportunity to thank your Committee for all of the work they have done over the year to keep our gardening association running during the pandemic.
IMPORTANT NEWS REGARDING SLUG PELLETS
SLUG PELLETS: Metaldehyde Ban
In December 2018 DEFRA announced that metaldehyde will be banned from most uses in Spring 2020.The ban included all home garden use. This decision was overturned in July 2019, based on a legal challenge to the process by which the ban was put in place.
In September 2020 DEFRA issued a further announcement that the outdoor use of metaldehyde, a pesticide used to control slugs on farms and in gardens, is set to be banned in Great Britain from the end of March 2022 in order to better protect wildlife and the environment, farming Minister Victoria Prentis announced today.
The decision takes into account advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about the risks that metaldehyde poses to birds and mammals.
Metaldehyde will be phased out by 31 March 2022 to give growers and gardeners appropriate time to switch to alternative slug control measures. Small quantities of product for gardens should not be disposed of at home and can be disposed of through local authority waste facilities.
HGA no longer sell any slug pellets that contain metaldehyde.