In its latest position statement, the Landscape Institute warns that a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the landscape profession in the UK and Europe
The Landscape Institute (LI) has issued a position statement warning how a no-deal Brexit might affect the landscape sector.
Dan Cook, LI Chief Executive, said:
‘The LI believes that a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the landscape profession in UK and Europe, and would further exacerbate our current skills shortages.
Talent and recognition
‘With around 40% of employers in our sector already suffering skills shortages, the impact on future talent is our major concern. Around 8% of our members are citizens of EU countries other than the UK, and the profession cannot afford to lose them.
‘One of our major concerns is that we may lose recognition of our professional qualification across Europe with a no-deal Brexit. This would hamper UK professionals’ ability to provide services to European markets.
Restricted movement limits the number of international graduates who will be able to stay in the UK to meet skills shortages and add value to our country
‘Longer-term, graduate retention is also a major problem.
‘30% of students joining UK-based landscape courses in 2018 were international, and 7% were from the EU. Restrictions on visas and free movement limits the number of graduates who will be able to stay in the UK, meet skills shortages, and add value to our country.
‘Any restrictions on trade with Europe would make landscape practice much harder. Many of the materials landscape professionals use – such as live plants or stone products from places like Italy – are sourced from the EU.
‘Just like food, plants can’t afford to be held up in a lorry park in Kent, France or Belgium for days. It would take many years for British nurseries to grow similar trees, and for British quarries to be re-opened, in order to rebuild an adequate materials supply chain.
‘Any extra administrative burdens for the supply of landscape products into the UK will make them much less attractive to both public and private sector investors and developers.
If landscape professionals are forced out of work, the long-term effects could take decades to correct
‘Beyond anything else, any economic contraction or delays to investment will hit our sector hard – as we remember from the 2008 recession. If there is less money in the economy, there will be less built development, including housing – a current government priority. And what development does happen will be cheaper, less well designed, and less green.
‘If landscape professionals are forced out of work by an economic downturn, the long-term effects on public health, air quality, flood risk, and climate change could take decades to correct.’
Focusing on talent
The LI has undertaken several important initiatives to address our skills shortages. These include:
- A major talent survey during 2017 to understand our sector’s needs
- Supporting a trailblazer landscape employers’ group to create new landscape apprenticeships
- Encouraging universities to expand further landscape education and accrediting more courses
- Urging the Migration Advisory Committee to list landscape on the Shortage Occupation List
- Beginning work on updating entry standards for our profession