RHS Statement in Response to European Commission Consultation on Invasive Non-native Plants

Monday 10 March 2014

The RHS is working closely with other horticultural organisations, and has submitted evidence to the House of Commons Environment Audit Committee, on proposed EU regulation on invasive non-native species.

The RHS is working closely with other horticultural organisations, and has submitted evidence to the House of Commons Environment Audit Committee, on proposed EU regulation on invasive non-native species. The regulation contains a provision to create a list of species of ‘Union Concern’ for which strict controls would be put in place. As a significant number of invasive non-native plants arise from horticulture, the RHS is keen that the decision-making process for listing is transparent and evidence-based.

The new regulation, which will be voted on by the European Parliament in April, would effectively ban species of ‘Union Concern’ from being brought into, transported, or even possessed within the EU. This ban on possession would go far beyond the existing regulation on invasive non-native species in England.

As the regulation currently stands it is unclear how many species will be subject to the ban, or the process for including species on any list. Of the options under consideration the RHS favours a ‘black list’ approach that would see plants that present a clear environmental threat being restricted. Other options include the ‘white list’ approach that would see all plants being assessed before they could be imported.

The RHS is also keen that a robust and evidence based approach is taken in the selection of these plants and is urging the EU to draw on its internationally recognised expertise in taxonomy to ensure plants on the list are correctly identified and named.

The charity also believes that it is crucial that any EU Regulation recognises unique regional climatic and environmental conditions in order to avoid ornamental plants, which pose no threat in the UK, being banned because they are considered a problem in other EU countries.

The RHS will continue to work closely with other horticulture organisations, horticulture industry and government in order to represent the interests of the British gardening public.
 

-Ends-

Notes to editors

For more information please contact Garfield Myrie: garfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk.   

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