The marketing of seed is regulated by five EC Directives and these are transposed into domestic legislation by the “Seed Marketing Regulations”: the Beet Seed (Scotland) (No 2) Regulations 2010; the Cereal Seed (Scotland) Regulations 2005; the Fodder Plant Seed (Scotland) Regulations 2005; the Oil and Fibre Plant Seed (Scotland) Regulations 2004; and the Vegetable Seeds Regulations 1993.
The Seed Marketing Regulations require that certified seed meets certain statutory standards before it may be marketed. That certification process includes the inspection of crops, the sampling of seed, the testing of seed lots and the observation of control plots. Whilst the system could operate using only official personnel (that is with government officials) and indeed does operate that way in some countries, for many years now licensed crop inspectors, licensed seed samplers and licensed seed testing stations have operated in most parts of the UK, including throughout Scotland.
The Seed Marketing Regulations recognise the involvement of licensed personnel in the certification process. The Seed (Registration, Licensing & Enforcement) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (“the 2006 Regulations”) support the Seed Marketing Regulations by making provision for licensed personnel and regulating the manner in which they operate. It is a requirement of European law that all licensed activity of this type takes place under official supervision, hence the continuing need for regulation of such activities.
This consultation is on Scottish Government’s proposed changes to the 2006 Regulations, which are intended to bring greater consistency and flexibility to the regulation of licensed seed personnel. The intention is to bring regulation of all the certification / marketing functions undertaken by the industry in Scotland in line with each other. Although similar in format, each licence will provide clear indications as to what functions the holder is permitted to undertake and the conditions that apply. The new format of licences also allows for consistency in language and would cover a five year period rather than the current three.
Scope of consultation.
The consultation provides an explanation why Scottish Government wishes to make changes to:
• the present registration for seed merchants, seed processors and seed packers to a licence;
• all licences to make them more flexible and transparent as to which species, categories and functions the licence covers;
• provisions for suspension, revocation and variation of licences to allow more flexibility and more effective licencing of persons within the seed industry, ensure that licensed activities are in line with those elsewhere in the UK and the rest of the EU;
• update and provide more clarity through some minor amendments, including updating of statutory forms.