EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 07 - 2011 Num. article: 2011/167

Great Britain: national initiatives on Code of conduct

The answers provided by Great Britain to the questionnaire on the implementation of the Council of Europe/EPPO Code of conduct on horticulture and invasive alien plants in European and Mediterranean countries are summarized below. The general conclusions of the questionnaire are presented in EPPO RS 2011/144.

DEFRA had developed in 2005 a Horticultural Code of practice for England and Wales, and another one for Scotland.

Stage and scale of implementation: The Horticultural Code of practice for England and Wales has been updated and republished in April 2011 to take into account the European Code of conduct and to provide further guidance. The Horticultural Code of practice for Scotland is currently under revision. The initiative ‘be plant wise’ implements these Codes of practice.

Partners associated: The Horticultural Code of practice has been developed by DEFRA. A media and communication Working Group comprising nursery trade organizations (such as the Horticultural Trade Association and the Ornamental and Aquatic Trade Association), NGOs (e.g. Plantlife) and Government Agencies was created to comment on the format and content of the updated version.

Target of the British Code of conduct: The Code is aimed at everyone engaged in horticulture, gardening and related activities that involve the use of plants.

Financing of the initiative: No information was provided.

Use of legislation: The use of the Code of practice is linked to Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

Criteria to establish lists of invasive alien plants: The Horticultural Code of practice essentially applies to the approximately 50 plant species that are listed in Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. This list has recently been reviewed.

Main requirements of the Code:
  • dispose of plant waste responsibly;
  • know exactly what you are growing and buying;
  • take advice on the best control techniques;
  • control invasive non-native plants safely;
  • be aware of relevant legislation;
  • know what you are supplying or selling;
  • label plants clearly and accurately;
  • provide substitutes for invasive plants;
  • provide advice on disposal;
  • beware of hitch-hiking pests on plants and in soil.

Use of incentives or sanctions: The intention is that stakeholders will help to disseminate the Code and thereby give a positive public image to those complying with it. Complying with the code has also become a requirement of the Government Buying Standards. Private certification schemes have been considered, and some local (county level) schemes are in place, led by the charity NGO Wildlife Trusts.

Revision or update of the Code of conduct: Revision of the species covered takes place periodically through amendments to Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

Prevention of the spread of Invasive alien plants: Documents such as the ‘Knotweed Code of practice’, the ‘Code of practice to prevent the spread of non-indigenous flatworms’ have also been developed.

Communication activities: The ‘be plant wise’ campaign provides a website with videos on good practices to be adopted.

Monitoring of the implementation of the Code of conduct: Although no formal monitoring system is in place, stakeholders will be asked about actions they have undertaken. In addition, the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website reports on the distribution of invasive alien species.


‘Be plant wise’ initiative: http://beplantwise.direct.gov.uk/index.html

Contacts: Nicolas Turner, DEFRA, E-mail: nicolas.turner@defra.gsi.gov.uk
Sophie Thomas, Plantlife International, E-mail: sophie.thomas@plantlife.org.uk