Friday 19 December 2014
RHS statement in response to the withdrawal of the proposed EU Plant Reproductive Material legislation from the European Commission’s Work Programme for 2015
Following the rejection earlier in the year by the European Parliament (EP) of the proposed EU Plant Reproductive Material legislation by 650 votes to 15, the President of the European Parliament has subsequently requested that the proposal be withdrawn. The European Commission (EC) announced its Work Programme, which sets out the legislation that the EP will be working on in 2015, earlier this week in which it signalled the withdrawal of this contentious piece of legislation.
Since the legislation was proposed, the RHS and many other horticultural institutions in the UK have been working together to highlight the potential negative effect it could have on the horticultural sector. Working with colleagues in Defra, meeting with representatives of the EU Commission, briefing MEPs, and drafting amendments to the proposals enabled us to effectively represent the interests of gardeners. The outcome, although it will have consequences for other sectors, is a testament to the effectiveness of this hard work, which has also considerably raised the profile of horticulture within the EU.
It is unclear what next step the EC will take on this issue. However the RHS will be closely monitoring future developments and liaising with other horticultural organisations to ensure that momentum on this important issue is kept up and that the interests of gardeners and the horticultural industry continue to be represented at the highest level. We will also be building links with like-minded organisations in other Member States to increase co-ordination of activities in support of horticulture.
If passed, the new law could have seen breeders having to pay a fee of between £300 and £500 to register plant names, a cost that would inevitably be passed on to UK gardeners. The knock on effect of increased costs and bureaucracy could have resulted in a reduction in the range of plants available to buy in garden centres.