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New EEC plant rules - call for action

Alpine Garden Society response to the proposed Regulation of the European Parliament and European Council on Plant Reproductive Material

Background
If the title of this item suggests an issue which is of no interest or relevance to you, read on as you will find that is not the case. This proposed new Regulation will impose the same stringent requirements that currently apply only to food crops to all plants propagated in the EU, including ornamentals. It will require UK plant breeders and growers to register plant material that is not already protected by Plant Breeders Rights (PBRs) - estimates put the cost between £300 - £500 per plant variety. The scale of the potential impact on the UK horticultural industry as a whole becomes evident when it is realised that of the 52,000 cultivars listed in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Plant Finder, only 1,500 have been registered. A substantial proportion of the unregistered cultivars (perhaps 10%, 5,000 cultivars) are alpine plants and the like, mainly grown for sale by small nurseries that do not have access to the manpower and financial resources required to comply with such a requirement. Thus the result of the implementation of the regulation would inevitably be fewer alpine plant nurseries offering fewer varieties at higher prices.

A campaign being led by the RHS, Plant Heritage (the parent  body for National Collections of Cultivated Plants, NCCP), the horticultural industry and the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)aims to ensure that the relevant parts of this Regulation are amended to remove ornamental plants from the provisions associated with food crops, and for the removal of the need for the registration of existing cultivars that can be shown to be ‘commonly known’, and new cultivars.    The Alpine Garden Society is fully supportive of this campaign and asks and encourages members and others with an interest in alpine plants to support it. The easiest way in which this can be done is by lobbying your Member of the European Parliament (MEP), making them aware of the campaign and the reason it is needed, and asking for their support for the relevant amendment(s) in the European Parliament.  The contact details for your MEP can be obtained by following the link :

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html

If you do take action in support of the campaign, please contact the AGS Director (ags@alpinegardensociety.net) so that we can keep a record of all such actions.

Thank you

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