HTA secures “critical” cost-saving commitment for EU plant passports

by | May 16, 2023 | Associations, News | 0 comments

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has secured an extension to the easement allowing GB Plant Passports to be affixed to retail-ready plants in the EU on behalf of GB Plant Passport holders.

The new, fixed deadline of 30 June 2025 means importers have 24 months to put in place a labelling solution GB-side. This much sought-after outcome follows months of uncertainty and the HTA’s work engaging with Defra to set out sector needs.

In the coming months, the UK’s Defra Plant Health Services and the HTA have agreed to jointly develop a pilot scheme looking at an electronic Plant Passporting system for those businesses that currently use the easement. This means there is potential for a modern, efficient, and alternative solution to physical labelling.

HTA worked closely with members to provide the evidence needed to allow this easement to continue and worked with the Plant Health Service in Britain to achieve this welcome result along with a potential long-term solution.

Sally Cullimore, HTA’s technical policy manager, said: “The HTA welcomes this announcement, which follows many months of work in providing the evidence needed to achieve this sensible extension period to the current GB plant passports easement. The addition of a commitment from the Government to work hand-in-hand with the HTA and sector experts on the development of an electronic Plant Passporting system is fantastic news. The HTA looks forward to continuing this collaborative journey as we develop this digital solution for Plant Passports, working towards a system which delivers enhanced traceability while reducing the need for businesses to implement costly and resource-hungry labelling systems.

“The HTA, as always, seeks member feedback and inputs and looks forward to hosting sessions with the sector to ensure a full understanding of the changes and future in the coming weeks.”

The easement extension does come with the condition that the Plant Passport, if affixed in the EU, is only a draft version and that businesses must do a visual plant health check on the consignments on arrival at the first place of destination in Britain. Traders must keep a record of that visual check, and when auditing a trader’s authorisation to issue plant passports, APHA inspectors will ask to see those records to ensure businesses are doing their due diligence.

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