Plant Heritage Urges Urgent Action over European Commission Proposal

Leading garden conservation charity, Plant Heritage, is seeking urgent action over proposed EU legislation which could endanger many National Plant Collections, numerous garden centres and threaten the survival of many ornamental plants.
 
The regulations are designed to rationalise and simplify current legislation, and offer greater protection to consumers.
 
However, the wording of the legislation requires all plant varieties sold in Europe to be listed on an official register thus making it illegal to sell unregistered varieties. At present only 2,000 of the estimated 77,000 cultivars sold in UK are registered, and with an administrative cost of as much as £500 per variety to register, many small nurseries could be forced to close. This would also include a large proportion of our National Plant Collections, many of which are held in large and small nurseries.
 
Referring to the latest proposals Plant Heritage Conservation Officer Mercy Morris said she is concerned that the legislation could prevent conservation work undertaken by many of the charity’s National Collection Holders, and thus prevent threatened plant material from being propagated and shared for the future.
 
Speaking on the directive Ms Morris said “It seems from our perspective that an assumption has been made that the only bodies that carry out conservation work are Botanic Gardens or networks developed purely for that purpose. However, an organisation such as Plant Heritage (and our counterparts in Europe), which encompasses many small commercial operators who spend vast amounts of their time on conservation work, has not been considered at all.
 
“In many cases the conservation of cultivars is only possible on any level because of some form of commercial involvement on the part of the Collection Holder. As the legislation stands at present without the ability to sell plants their conservation activities could be curtailed,” she adds.
 
Plant Heritage is urging people to lobby their MEP* and ensure they are made aware of the danger that this potential legislation poses as it is at present, and ask that the wording is amended to ensure the survival of small nurseries and National Collection Holders.
 
We are asking that people write requesting that the regulation is not applied to ornamental plants, as well as stressing the risk the current wording poses to the industry and plant conservation. We would also request that the definition of ‘organisations’ in the documentation involved in conservation is broadened to include commercial operators, thus protecting National Plant Collections and nurseries.
 
*MEP’s who sit on the AGRI Committee and we would like to see lobbied are:

Stuart Agnew (UKIP), PO Box 408, Newton Abbott, devon, TQ12 9BG,

Julie Girling (Con), Regent Court, Gloucester Business Park, Hucclecote, Gloucestershire, GL3 4AD; julie.girling@europarl.europa.eu

George Lyon (Lib Dem), Mirren Court (one), 119 Renfrew Road, Paisley, Scotland, PA3 46A; george@georgelyon.org.uk

Richard Ashworth (Con), Conservative MEP for the South East, W1B 6M105; richard.ashworth@europarl.europa.eu

John Bufton (UKIP), PO Box 408, Newton Abbott, Devon TQ12 9BG

Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru), Plaid Cymru, Regent St, Wrexham, LL11 1RE; jill.evans@ep.europa.eu

Anthea McIntyre(Con), The Chapel, Wythall Estate, Bulls Hill, Walford, Ross-On-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 5SD; anthea@antheamcintyre.com

Brian Simpson (Lab), Office of Brian Simpson MEP, Lakeside, Alexandra Park, Prescot Road, St Helens, WA10 3TT; brian.simpson@europarl.europa.eu

Robert Sturdy (Con), 153 St neot's Rd, Hardwick, Cambs, CB23 7QJ; rwsturdy@btconnect.com
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