HTA criticises Defra over lack of ash dieback support

The HTA has criticised Defra for not applying to an EU plant health crises support fund following the ash dieback outbreak.

The HTA and several growers met with Defra representatives this week to discuss possible solutions for helping the industry as part of objective four of the government’s interim Chalara control plan.

The meeting follows several HTA meetings and exchanges of correspondence on the implications of Chalara with Defra ministers. It resulted in a letter in December from Lord de Mauley, parliamentary under secretary for the environment, in which government stated that they would not be applying to the EU fund for supporting plant health crises in member states and that no compensation would be made to UK growers as a direct result of the Chalara outbreak.

HTA director of business development Tim Briercliffe said: "We are deeply disappointed that the government has not applied to the EU fund set up for just this type of situation nor committed to providing UK growers with direct compensation.

"However, this latest meeting looked at positive ways in which the industry might be financially supported through this crisis by Government and we are optimistic for a positive outcome for growers."

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