James Clark, HTA’s Director of Policy and Communications, said, “We all agree that biosecurity is a key priority. The industry has worked collaboratively with government in promoting plant health excellence in everything it does. It was encouraging to see industry assurance schemes like OHAS and Plant Healthy positively referenced. We are excited about working with Defra and the Welsh and Scottish governments on how a self-regulatory approach can be further developed, rather than a need for more government regulation. We currently have one of the most stringent and restrictive regulatory systems for trade.
Any strategy that encourages the growth of the domestic production sector is to be applauded. The OHRG’s ‘Unlocking green growth’ strategy stated changes to the planning regime and specific business improvement funds being made available, are key to supporting sectoral expansion. Nonetheless, there will always be a need for importing high quality bulbs, seedlings, plants and trees. We’re committed to responding constructively to this consultation, working with government in delivering the highest levels of biosecurity standards, both through increased UK production and our importing and exporting operations”.