Europe blocks UK’s latest xylella measures

The EC has overruled Defra’s moves in April to implement new national measures to mitigate against the risk of the bacterial disease Xylella fastidiosa entering on imported plants (The Commercial Greenhouse Grower May 2020).

Defra said the measures, which in particular tightened the restrictions on nurseries where lavender and rosemary are grown for export to the UK, had been introduced in accordance with provisions in the EU Plant Health Regulation.

But the EC ruled in June that the measures were ‘disproportionate to the identified risk’ and ‘not adequately justified’.

The Commission asked the UK at the end of April to repeal the measures but because this still had not happened by the beginning of June, it issued an ‘implementing decision’ forcing it to do so by June 20.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Authority has told Dutch growers that compliance with the additional requirements is no longer necessary from that date, but that it was likely they would be reimposed from next January when Brexit is achieved.

In the meantime it said businesses experiencing difficulties when trading to the UK ‘can rely on the EU decision.’

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