Plants For Europe owner Graham Spencer said he actively campaigned for a Remain vote in last week’s referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, but he has a plan to deal with Brexit.
He added: "We cannot deny that we are disappointed by the outcome of the vote. However, we must accept the circumstances as they are and work to maintain and extend the success of our business by serving our customers and the plants that we represent in the best way possible.
"At the moment, the UK remains a member of the European Union. European Union law continues to be in force in the UK, including all laws related to Plant Variety Rights. Holders of Plant Variety Rights can expect that royalties should continue to be paid, subject to the current economic volatility. EU Plant Variety Rights continue to be legally enforceable throughout the 28 member states of the EU, including all parts of the UK.
"In the medium and long term, we should expect some changes to Plant Variety Rights, particularly in the UK. However, we do not yet know what those changes might be. Plants For Europe is already in contact with the Horticultural Trades Association and other important organisations in order to promote the interests of plant breeders and to devise the best lobbying position and strategy to try and secure the best possible outcome for plant breeders. Our customers can be sure that we will do what we can to protect their interests – in fact, we may, in time, ask our customers to assist in any lobbying that is required.
"Plants For Europe had drawn up plans in advance for both possible outcomes of the referendum vote. We are already taking measures to ensure that we are still able to administer both EU Plant Variety Rights and UK Plant Breeders Rights for our customers, even if the UK does fully withdraw from the EU and is no longer part of the EU Plant Variety Rights jurisdiction. These measures do not need to be implemented immediately, as we are yet to see exactly what the British government’s policies will be. The timetable for withdrawal is unclear and, until withdrawal is completed, the UK remains within the EU Plant Variety Rights system. At the very least, we expect withdrawal will take two years and is unlikely to be completed before the end of 2018 – it may, in fact, take much longer."
Javado's Chris Campbell said: "Most people in the horticultural world I have spoken with before the vote were firmly in favour of remaining in as they recognised that the plant world was now one of interdependence across Europe.
"This allowed young plant material to flow from producers on mainland Europe to UK growers without hindrance whilst the supply of finished plants to compliment the UK production was equally as important to provide additional availability to the garden centres.
"Whilst border controls are important to all of us we do not want to find impediments coming into place to complicate the movement of plants into or out of the UK tying us up in red tape which may prove more difficult that we have enjoyed in recent years.
"The immediate fall of only around five per cent in the value of the £ against the euro which is yet to settle out still leaves imported plants good value.
"However it may have a more damaging effect on long term EU imported food prices for the country which will be more far reaching for all.
"The buffer of £250 billion created by the Governor of the Bank of England is a welcome strategy to help stabilise the situation for the country as a whole."
Tillington plant buyer Andy Bunker said: "I think now it will take a year to settle down. I would not worry about currency – euro/pound or dollar/pound."
Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants said they were against Brexit because of PVR.
North One garden centre said as many of its staff were from the continent, the vote was a concern.