After a hectic week of the "small" plant growers of the UK collectively shouting at APHA (Animal and Plant Health Authority) concerning the unworkable and unenforceable new Plant Passports (PPs) Directive which, as it stood, was the DEATH of plant sales in the UK - cheers and applause, APHA have changed their guidance.
For a while, they were telling us that we needed to undergo Registration (free, quick, easy) AND to also apply for Authorisation to Issue Plant Passports (PPs), which is potentially very expensive.
This is now their policy concerning the new Plant Passports (PPs) Directive, as it applies to those of us who propagate our own plants at home:
" For all these situations you would only be required to be registered. (ie You are growing the plants yourself, and selling them face-to-face; you are growing them yourself, advertising them online, but handing them over face-to-face with money exchanging hands on the doorstep; you are growing them yourself, advertising them online, taking payment online (ie Paypal etc) then handing the plant over face-to-face.)"
In a nutshell, if you sell plants by post/courier, ie not local, then you need to do Registration, and you also need to go through the (expensive) Authorisation process as all plant movements require the plants to have PPs.
However, if you sell plants face-to-face, ie from your garden, at boot fairs, locally, then you do need to do Registration, but you don't need to issue PPs.
Thank heavens for that! A huge sigh of relief is now wafting up from all the millions of specialist "amateur" growers, the hobbyists, the clubs, the charities, and all of us who supplement our jobs/pensions with selling a few plants on the side.
The email finishes:
"Our guidance on this has changed following feedback and a review of the application process. As we deal more with the application side rather than the specifics of policy, we can only follow the guidance we are given, but I apologise that the initial guidance you were given on this has changed."
Yay! That beeping sound is APHA reversing their decisions, changing their minds, responding to our somewhat heated feedback, and amending the restrictions! So hooray for common sense, and well done to everyone who pestered APHA with endless emails!
UPDATE JUNE 2020
Guess what: there's another squiggle in this ridiculous story.
The latest twist is that APHA are now saying that Amateurs and Hobbyists do not need to Register ("if they are only selling face to face".... if you sell by post, you still have to do the full Passport thing).
And what is their definition of an Amateur/Hobbyist? Someone who does not make a profit, does not have a website offering the plants for sale, and does not have a Price List.
If you do any one of those three things - make money, have a website, or have a price list - then you are officially a business, as far as APHA are concerned, and need to Register.
They seem to be trying to exclude the very, very small people who just flog off half a dozen plants once a year. Anything more than that, and you have to Register.
To the best of my understanding so far, if you sell them by post - then yes, you still have to have Plant Passports, which means by definition, you have to Register first, then apply for permission to issue PPs. Some people are being told that the first inspection will be free, but this has NOT been confirmed officially by APHA.
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