The health of plants in the UK is under threat from global trade, and a change in legislation was essential to ensure the movement of plants and plant products does not become a cause of widespread pest and disease.
Oak processionary moth, ash dieback, Asian longhorn beetle and xylella are just a few of the pests and diseases that have the potential to cause ecological, environmental and socio-economic harm.
To prevent further spread of pest and diseases, an upgrade to the rules concerning plant importation and movement within the European Union is necessary. Specifically 1) greater scrutiny of plants entering the EU from third countries and 2) introduction of better surveillance.
The solution proposed by the European Commission is a plant health regulation called Smarter Rules for Safer Foods, which applied to EU member states from 14th December 2019. The name reflects the wider role of plant health in relation to successful agriculture and forestry, as well as protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.
The changes associated with the plant health regulation include:
- Increased use of plant passports by the landscape industry and authorisation to issue these
- Requirement for professional operators to be registered
- A more precautionary approach to flows of material
The plant health regulation applies to EU members, but also to countries in a transition period such as the UK. Under the terms of the EU Withdrawal Act, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal the plant health regulation will continue to apply until UK parliament amend it.
All landscape professionals have responsibilities in relation to the new plant health regulation. Please select the button that applies to your business below, or for more general information about plant passports please review the glossary and FAQ pages