DEFRA announces new Code Of Practice on non-native plants

The UK Government department DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Regional Affairs) has introduced a Code of Practice for the importation, propagation and distribution of non-native plant species, with a warning that non-compliance could be used in evidence in future court cases (see DEFRA’s press release).

The full text of the Code of Practice can be found here in PDF format.

The Code of Practice is likely to be incorporated into the new Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill, which is likely to make the Code of Practice statutory. It is also likely to create a new offence of importing or distributing banned non-native plants, and will radically increase the number of species covered by the legislation from the current list of two (Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed). Horticulturally important genera and species (such as Crocosmia crocosmiiflora, according to Horticulture Week magazine) are being considered for inclusion.