Seed bank plans future funding

Plans to raise £140m needed to keep the UK's Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) open after funding runs out in 2009 are underway, an MSB representative has said.

Millennium Seed Bank: already stores 96 per cent of the UK's flora. Credit: RGB Kew
Millennium Seed Bank: already stores 96 per cent of the UK's flora. Credit: RGB Kew

The representative said: "We are very confident we will raise the funds. Securing funding for the next 10-year period is well into the planning stages. We need to increase the speed at which we collect species, as plants are dying out at a faster rate. And we can start to use the seed stored for reintroductions where wild species have died out."

The Foundation & Friends of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is responsible for the fundraising and is targeting corporate sponsors and individuals rather than campaigning for government money.

The MSB representative added that a seed vault that opened in the Arctic last week is not a threat to the future of the MSB. "The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is actually a back-up for gene banks across the world. The team there is focusing on food crops while we concentrate on wild plants."

The MSB - run by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew at Wakehurst Place, West Sussex - is the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. It already stores 96 per cent of the UK's flora and aims to have collected seed from 10 per cent of the world's wild flowering plant species by 2010.

The first deposits in the Svalbard vault, which opened last Tuesday, were seeds of food crops, but the facility has the capacity to store 4.5 million seed samples, equivalent to about two billion seeds.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next



The range of colours and flowering times makes for cheerful and economic displays, Miranda Kimberley reports.

Pitches - seeds and consumables

Pitches - seeds and consumables

The right seeding and inputs are essential for keeping grass in top condition and ensuring that pitches look and perform at their best, says Sally Drury.



Customers do not often know about the different leaf colours and shapes offered by hollies, Miranda Kimberley reports.

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Horticulture could benefit from streamlining in the supply chain.

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Blue Planet II eloquently showed the rich tapestry of life in the oceans. It also focused public awareness on plastic pollution damaging wildlife.

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

British horticultural firms and organisations have not been the best at working together to promote our industry.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive ranking of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover. 

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles