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HTA request a pragmatic approach from Defra on plant passporting implementation

Published: 14 November 2019 - Neil Mead
 

With the new plant passporting regulations coming into force in less than a month, the HTA has requested that Defra operate a common-sense approach to implementation. The suggestion is that a 12 month grace period is introduced where no penalties will be issued for non-compliance as long as businesses can demonstrate their intent to comply with the legislation. This view was supported by members taking part in the HTA’s Plant Passport event on 14 November 2019.

HTA Policy Manager, Sally Cullimore commented: “We are asking that Defra take a common-sense approach to the implementation of the plant passporting regulations. The suggestion is that a 12 month grace period is introduced where no penalties will be issued for non-compliance as long as businesses can demonstrate their intent to comply with the legislation. Importantly, this is not a delay and businesses would need to have a plan in place demonstrating their intent to comply.”

This ask of Government was announced at a series of sector-specific seminar sessions on plant passporting led by HTA Policy Manager, Sally Cullimore, ahead of the new plant passporting regulations coming into force on 14 December 2019. The biggest event to take place at HTA’s Horticulture House the sessions attracted 150 retailer, grower and landscaper members. The same number of members also joined the event via a live webinar enabling them to ask questions as well.

The HTA has written to the Minister and Chief Plant Officer requesting the 12 month grace period. Through weekly Q and A sessions with the Defra implementation team the HTA as been ensuring that members’ questions are addressed. This is in addition to producing sector guidelines, checking plant passport designs for members and responding to their questions.

Sally Cullimore adds, “Members asked many questions during the sessions and we will continue to raise them with Defra to provide clarity. Their main concern is that there is such a lot to do in a short period of time and they don’t want to get it wrong. This is why a grace period with regard to penalties is so important. With the 14 December fast approaching, it is time to take action and ensure that you have practical plans in place for your business.”

Through the seminars and webinars in excess of 100 questions were asked. A full Q and A document will be available to members summarising these questions and answers.

HTA members can log in to watch the webinars at https://hta.org.uk/assurance-compliance/plant-passporting/plant-passporting-webinar.html

The webinars are available to non-members for £50 + VAT. Contact events@hta.org.uk to purchase. These webinars are the latest resource produced by the HTA on plant passporting. Further information is available to members atwww.hta.org.uk/plantpassporting.

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