Protesters took part in a rally at Parliament to oppose funding cuts to Kew Gardens. 

The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) is cutting £1.5m from the botanical hotspot's funding which, combined with financial pressures, means there will be a £5m hole in Kew’s budget that can only be filled by losing a sixth of staff, mostly in scientific areas.

Kew Gardens staff and MPs took part in a rally in Parliament on July 8 and MP Zac Goldsmith supported a Parliamentary motion on the issue, wrote to ministers urging them to scale back the proposed cuts and handed a petition to Downing Street with almost 100,000 signatures.

Mr Goldsmith said: "It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of Kew Gardens to the UK’s and world’s scientific community.

"The gardens have an extraordinary legacy and significant contemporary value. I don’t believe Kew Gardens will be able to maintain its valuable work with this level of cuts."

Kew Gardens said it was grateful for the public affection shown for the institution across the globe and assured visitors it had a plan in place to combat the deficit.