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wRITING TO THE KEY MEPS

MEPs on the Agriculture and Environment committee are directly involved with the law.
Most people will have at least one of these MEPs in their home region - they are the best person to write to:

Scotland: George Lyon, (one of the lead MEPs for this law on Agriculture) Struan Stevenson, Alyn Smith (Agri)
North East: Martin Callanan
North West: Chris Davies, Jaqueline Foster, Paul Nuttall, Brian Simpson (Agri)
Yorkshire & the Humber: Linda McAvan, Rebecca Taylor
East Midlands Glenis Willmott
Wales Jill Evans
Eastern Vicky Ford, Stuart Agnew (Agri)
Northern Ireland

James Nicholson (Agri), Martina Anderson, Diane Dodds (Agri)

London Marina Yannakoudakis
South East Richard Ashworth (Agri)
South West Julie Girling (one of the lead MEPs for this law on Agriculture)

At this stage, writing to these MEPs is the key thing to do.
Here is an example - though it is better to put things into your own words.

Dear Mr/Ms _______

Subject: New EU Plant Reproductive Material law

I am writing to you as a home gardener, to ask you to push for further improvements to the new law which will regulate the sale of seeds in the EU.

Although the first draft of the law in May suggested an exemption for small 'micro enterprises', the current reports from both committees working on the law suggest taking this out. The new 'niche market' exemptions that are proposed are very limited, and will not solve the problems of UK home gardeners.

What is needed is not to exempt some companies from the law, but to make sure that there is a way that the needs of home gardeners can be met within the law. It is not appropriate for seeds sold in small packets for individual gardeners to be regulated in the same way as seeds for commercial agriculture, and as a gardener, I do not want to be limited to growing varieties of vegetable developed for a completely different type of growing.

Agriculture in the EU is a major business. Individual citizens' gardens and allotments are a completely different sector, and don't need the same degree of regulation. Although the law is being described as for 'consumer protection' there are no problems with home garden seed that will be fixed by this law.

In the previous legislation from 2009 there was a recognition that ""vegetable varieties with no intrinsic value for commercial crop production but developed for growing under particular conditions" such as hand cultivation and repeated harvesting were a different category that needed to be regulated separately. This idea was introduced to deal with the fact that amateur growers need different seed, and should not be lost.

I would ask you to push for changes so that home garden seeds and plants are treated separately from seeds sold to farmers in this new law.

I would be grateful for a reply to this letter

Yours sincerely

[your name]

 

 

 

 

(2) responding to the uk government consultation
ABOUT TAKING EU LAWS BACK INTO UK CONTROL

The UK government have just started a consultation asking people what things should be covered by EU laws, and what should be decided at national level. 
The consultation about agriculture is happening now.   We are asking as many people as possible to respond, and say that garden plants and garden seeds should NOT be covered by EU regulation, but instead controlled by UK laws.

DEFRA have a page of information about the consultation here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/eu/boc-agriculture

And then the actual consultation - the bit to fill in - is here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/eu/boc-agriculture/consultation

What to fill in?

NOTE: You don’t have to answer ALL of the questions on the form - just one is fine.

You could just make one brief point in
Question 5 (in the section 'EU Competence for Agriculture')
:

We feel that the EU should not have competence for (that is, they shouldn't make decisions about) Plant Reproductive Material (that is, seeds) intended for gardeners.
Agriculture in the UK (and the rest of the EU) is a major business. Individual citizens' gardens and allotments are a completely different sector, and don't require strict EU-level regulation.

You'll need to put this in your own words, but the point to make to them is that it is not appropriate for UK gardeners to be regulated by the EU as if they were farmers, and that they have very different needs.  Garden plants and seeds should not be regulated in the same way as cereals and potatoes grown on hundreds of acres. 

Help reading the background material to the consultation:

If you don’t want to read all the way through the DEFRA ‘Call for Evidence’ document, the key part relating to Plant Reproductive Material (= "seeds and cuttings" to most of us) is on page 20, paragraph 49. 

Here is what DEFRA say there, explaining the current situation:

"Marketing of plant reproductive material is regulated by a number of EU directives.  These are consumer protection measures which set out the quality and identity requirements which seed and other plant reproductive material must meet before it may be marketed.  The objectives include encouraging the breeding and uptake of improved varieties, assuring seed quality for safe, reliable and environmentally efficient food production, and facilitating international trade.  The Directives also cover the marketing of ornamental plant material.  In recent years simpler requirements have been agreed for conservation varieties and varieties with no intrinsic value for commercial crop production eg varieties intended for gardeners."

We have marked the final sentence in bold -   These simpler regulations for garden seed are what the new EU Seed Law will abolish. This is what you need to comment on in Question 5 - Seed Regulation for home gardeners needs to be brought back into UK control.

If enough people fill in the survey, it is possible that the Seed Laws will be brought back to UK control!