Following pressure from Glenis Willmott and other Labour MEPs, the European Parliament this week rejected proposed changes to EU seed laws that could have reduced the range of plants available for growing in Britain.
The European Commission had put forward proposals intended to simplify the rules for producing, marketing and selling seeds. However, concerned gardeners and growers had alerted Glenis and her colleagues to the fact that they actually risked limiting the varieties of seeds available to buy in the first place.
Glenis explained. “As we know Britain is a nation of gardeners and it’s established practice to buy and swap local varieties of seeds and cuttings. A combination of inventive growing techniques and the variety of plants produced in Britain have made our gardens world famous.
“Unfortunately, the new proposals would have mean that seeds destined for allotments and back gardens would have been subject to the same strict rules as those produced by industrial seed companies.
“Clearly, smaller suppliers would have struggled to comply with the costly new rules and might have ended up being forced out of business, leaving the industry dominated by a select group of multinational companies selling a limited variety of seeds.
“The vigilance of British gardeners has been rewarded, and MEPs were able to vote the proposals down.