Updates about the Horticulture Wales project, along with industry news and opinion.

Final Chance To Lobby Over Plant Reproductive Material Legislation

15 November 2013

Plant growers are being reminded that the deadline to have their say about controversial proposed EU regulations on plant reproductive material (PRM) is fast approaching.

Garden conservation charity Plant Heritage has called on growers to lobby MEPs as soon as possible, as even though a deadline of 4 December has been set, it claims comments will realistically need to be sent by the end of November in order to stand a chance of influencing the debate.

The draft proposal for regulating PRM calls for all plant varieties to be listed on an official register, a move many in the industry argue will threaten the future of many smaller nurseries and National Collection Holders. Of the 52,000 plants currently listed on the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Plant Finder’ database, only 2,000 would have an officially-registered description that would satisfy the criteria of the proposed legislation.

Plant Heritage has joined other industry bodies such as the RHS and HTA in calling for an exemption for ornamental plants, and it has produced a draft letter it is encouraging growers to send to MEPs sitting on the Agriculture and Environment Committees to reinforce opposition to the plans.

Plant Passports

In related news, David Slawson, Head of the Food and Environment Research Agency’s (FERA) plant pest and disease programme, outlined the UK government’s support for wider use of plant passports.

Speaking during a tree health and landscaping seminar at Barcham Trees in Cambridgeshire, Mr Slawson revealed he would be in favour of tougher European legislation that would require a plant passport for ‘all plants for planting’.

At present, plant health checks across the EU are focused on the country of production, with a plant passport only needed for varieties that host potentially serious quarantine pests or diseases. But with threats increasing, these rules may need to be tightened.

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