The HTA has called on the UK government to focus on building a more collaborative approach to improving plant biosecurity in its response to the Defra consultation on ‘a plant biosecurity strategy for Great Britain’.
The submission highlights the commitment of those working in ornamental horticulture and their significant experience in plant health and biosecurity best practices, suggesting that this provides an excellent basis for a more self-regulatory approach from the government. The focus from the government, the HTA says, should be on promoting self-regulatory plant import schemes like a ‘trusted trader’ initiative, as well as directing resources to better tackle ‘rogue traders’.
Director of Policy and Communications, James Clark, said: “This consultation matters hugely to the industry. It will set the framework for a future biosecurity strategy. There’s no question about the importance of plant biosecurity or our commitment as an industry to responsible practices that protect our nation from pests and diseases. We want to be part of working collaboratively with the Government on how this strategy can work best to have the right level of biosecurity and plant health protection while ensuring it's proportionate and measured. The influence, enthusiasm, and expertise of the industry is an incredible resource that could be better harnessed by the government.
“Our message to government is that we’re incredibly keen to work more collaboratively, but we need to see some change. Introducing a ‘trusted trader’ import scheme that would see businesses who meet the highest standards, underpinned by an accreditation system, receive fewer and lesser inspections, would be a start. Better concentrate your resources on more intelligence-led investigations and enforcement of those ‘rogue traders’ who put our industry and our society at risk. Then, together, we’ll be putting the biosecurity of our country first.”
Horticultural Trades Association