Commission 'wakes up' to reproductive material protests

The European Commission has "woken up" to growers' plant reproductive material protests, according to the owner of Plants for Europe Graham Spencer.

HW highlighted damage the commission's proposal on reproductive material could have (HW, 13 September), including increased costs and potentially limiting the number of new plants available. Since then, UK representation head Jacqueline Minor has written to Spencer to arrange a meeting to discuss differences between Brussels and the UK plant trade.

"They're looking at it again," said Spencer. "They're more awake now." The meeting with the commission will take place on 17 October at Europe House in London. The HTA, NFU, RHS, Plant Heritage, Spencer and Martin Emmett are invited.

Spencer explained that the new laws would replace existing regulations and would "bring new regulation to ornamental horticulture that will drastically reduce the range of plants available in the trade. All plants known by 'common knowledge names' would, under the proposed EU Regulation on Plant Reproductive Material, have to have lengthy and costly 'officially recognised descriptions'."

Minor said: "We believe your arguments deserve attentive consideration, in particular as they would apply to small operators."

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