1.The Committee has asked the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (“the Department”) for a memorandum on the following point:
In the light of the Committee’s observations on S.I. 2019/211 in regulation 45 (substituted regulation 22), explain what the wording “a temporary experiment seeking improved alternatives to provisions of these Regulations” means.
2.This SI has been made on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (“DAERA”) in the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive.
3.DAERA understands that the Committee’s question relates to the meaning of “a temporary experiment seeking improved alternatives to the provisions of these Regulations”, as provided for in regulation 22 of the Seed Marketing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 (S.R. 2016 No. 244), as amended by regulation 45 of the Marketing of Seeds and Plant Propagating Material (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.
4.Temporary experiments are currently provided for by regulation 22 of the Seed Marketing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016, which transposes the relevant provisions of various seed marketing Directives (Council Directive 2002/54/EC on the marketing of beet seed, Council Directive 66/402/EEC on the marketing of cereal seed, Council Directive 66/401/EEC on the marketing of fodder plant seed, Council Directive 2002/57/EC on the marketing of seed of oil and fibre plants and Council Directive 2002/55/EC on the marketing of vegetable seed (“the Seed Marketing Directives”)). Following the UK’s exit from the EU it is necessary to amend the current provision to remove references to these Directives since they will not be part of retained EU law.
5.Temporary experiments can be utilised by DAERA to allow plant breeders access to more genetic variation and permit the development of new varieties with combinations of useful traits, or to facilitate the implementation of an improved, more efficient and streamlined certification process.
6.Neither regulation 22, nor the Seed Marketing Directives, provide a definition of “temporary experiment”. However the term is well understood by the plant breeding and seed industries in the United Kingdom. To note in this regard that, at present, the Department is overseeing three temporary experiments in this area.
7.DAERA notes that a temporary experiment is a transitory measure which, upon authorisation, must not exceed 7 years. This is the current maximum duration of a temporary experiment provided for in the Seed Marketing Directives and is reflected in regulation 22 as amended by the Marketing of Seeds and Plant Propagating Material (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
5 March 2019
Published: 15 March 2019