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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