Trade groups seek compensation

Industry bodies promise to fight for compensation as sudden oak death problem escalates

Horticulture industry bodies are reassuring growers and promising to fight for compensation after the sudden oak death problem escalated last week. Horticulture Trades Association chief executive David Gwyther said: “The level of concern among HTA members is high because of the potential risk. The bodies working on the issue have given a very measured and proper reaction, but there has been over-reaction in the media, which is unhelpful.” He said that the HTA has been inundated with calls from growers and retailers. Gwyther added: “We believe the position on compensation can be made by UK ministers in the same way as with foot and mouth. “DEFRA has put a lot of resources into it and the scientific response shouldn’t be criticised. But the separate issue of compensation should be faced up to.” A joint statement by the HTA, National Farmers’ Union and the Royal Horticultural Society said: “It will be necessary for the industry to pursue vigorously negotiations with the Government on the issue of compensation, since the associated inspections and destruction regimes are having a serious effect on UK growers and retailers. A further meeting with the new minister concerned, Ben Bradshaw, is being urgently sought to discuss the full implications of the disease.”

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