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February 2018

Consultation on Fees for Seed Testing, Seed certification and Associated Seed Functions 2018

The Scottish Government has conducted its annual review of the seed testing, seed certification and associated seed functions with the view of providing a full cost recover.

Within the consultation, the findings of the review show that a price increase of 3% is needed for all certification and associated fees except for seed testing fees which need to rise by 8%.  The proposed changes  to the fees are published  within the consultation and we are looking for comments from companies and individuals on the proposed changes to the fees.

Please use the link below to access the consultation and provided feedback on its findings.


Seed Sorting


November 2017

Changes to The Fodder Plant Seed (Scotland) Regulations 2005


Taxonomic Botanists look at species identification / naming from time to time in light of new research and new techniques for determining the similarity or differences in plant species, and this can result in some plants regarded as different species being grouped together as the same species, or groups of a species being split into two species.

The general International standard for identifying plants by International organisations and such like comes from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database. They look at all the recent research work carried out on naming plant species.


The Change

Recent investigation into a species of Ryegrass has led to GRIN making a name change in their database for Lolium x boucheanum Kunth, which is now to be recognised as  Lolium x hybridum Hausskn.  The International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and EU Commission have made a similar changes.

Commission Implementing Directive (EU) 2016/2109 will be transposed into Scottish legislation, and as of the 1 January 2018, all invoices, labels etc. will require to use the new botanical name Lolium x boucheanum Hausskn.

Minor Amendment to Seed Testing Fees

An error occurred in the fee in The Seed (Fees etc.) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 under Schedule 2 B (ii).

The Seed (Fees etc.) (Scotland) Regulations 2016 had prescribed a fee of £7.63, payable by a licensed seed testing station in respect of an official examination of seed.  The Seed (Fees etc.) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 revoked and replaced those regulations reducing the applicable fee to £7.50.  This instrument reinstates the fee at £7.63.

Seed Testing


September 2016

Changes to the Seed Marketing and Seed Potato Legislation in Scotland

Seeds and Potatoes


Seed and seed potato certification is a European Community requirement to ensure that farmers and growers purchase recognised varieties of a known minimum quality.  Seeds, seed potatoes and crops of the main agricultural and vegetable species can only be marketed in the EU if the variety is listed either on a National List or the EU Common Catalogue.  Further to this they require to be examined and certified as meeting specified minimum EC standards.  These standards include purity (a specified standard for the number of weeds and other non-seed matter allowed); varietal purity (the seed / crop is all one varietal type); and germination.  Amongst other requirements, there is also a need for the containers to be sealed and labelled to prevent the tampering of the seed.

The Changes

The European Commission has made amendments to seed marketing and seed potato directives and Scottish Government is now required to implement these changes into our own domestic legislation.

Hybrid Spring Swede Rape

Commission Implementing Directive 2016/11 has amended the oil and fibre plant seed marketing directive, to allow for a reduced varietal purity standard for certified seed, which includes hybrid varieties of spring and winter swede rape.  The current 90% standard no longer reflects the special technical features of modern breeding methodology or the limitations in seed production of hybrid spring swede rape.

Swede PictureSeed Schemes established by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have reviewed the varietal purity standards, and propose that the purity standards for hybrid spring swede rape for certified seed be reduced from 90% to 85%.  The EU agreed to accept these international standards, and the proposal was adopted by the Commission and Member States in January 2016.  Scottish Government is required to transpose the Directive change into our own domestic legislation by 31st December 2016.

The reduced varietal purity for hybrid spring swede rape is a relaxation in the standard and therefore causes the growers of this crop no additional burden.  The majority of Scottish rape seed is winter varieties (99%).  Spring varieties are mainly exported for biofuels, with a very small amount processed in Scotland for edible oil.

Official Assigned Unique Serial Number on Each Official Label

Commission Implementing Directives 2016/317 and 2016/320 –  all seeds and seed potatoes being marketed must have an official label attached to the container.  An official label provides details of the seed or seed potatoes being sold, and also allows for an audit trail, since merchants are required to log official label / seed lot details.Seed Label

Recently, in Europe there have been a number of cases of fraudulent use of official labels.  The Commission wants to ensure that competent authorities have systems in place that allow for better control and recording of the printing, distribution and use of individual official labels by seed and seed potato operators.  By introducing the requirement of an official assigned unique serial number on each official label, the security and ability to track seed lots will improve.

Provisions in the Directives cover official assigned serial numbers for categories of certified seed  (2016/317) and for seed and seed potatoes which have an application for entry onto the national catalogues  (2016/320) (Test and Trials Seed).  The changes brought about by the Directives are required to be transposed into our seed potato and seed marketing regulations (which provide for beet, cereals, fodder, oil and fibre, and vegetables).

Transposition of Directives 2016/317 and 2016/320 into Scottish legislation will meet the EU requirement for an officially assigned serial number to be on UK certification labels.  Officially assigned serial numbers are already a labelling requirement throughout the UK, and have been since before the UK joined the EU.  Therefore no additional burdens are being introduced to the UK seed or farming industry.


This article is to inform the seed potato and seed marketing industry of the changes that the Commission has asked EU Member States to implement.  As the reduced varietal purity standard will not introduce any burden on hybrid spring swede rape growers, and official certification labels for seed potatoes and small seeds already have an official assigned unique serial number, the impact falls on the SG Policy Division of Agricultural and Rural Affairs to implement these amendments into our domestic legislation.

The Seeds (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2016 will fully implement the directives 2016/11, 2016/317 and 2016/320.  This Scottish Statutory Instrument will be laid in the Scottish Parliament in November 2016 and the 85% varietal purity standard for hybrid spring swede rape will come into force on the 31 December 2016.

Further Information

On this article, the Commission directives or the implementation of these directives can be obtained by e-mailing or calling Carol Scott

            e-mail:            Seeds&NationalList@gov.scot

            Telephone:    0300 244 9504


March 2015

No Fee Increases for Seed Certification or Seed Testing in 2015

A recent Scottish Government (SG) review on the costs for seed certification, seed testing and associated functions (courses, exams, licences etc.) has shown that there is no need to amend any fees in the Seed (Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 or the Official Seed Testing Station for Scotland Certification Seed Testing Fees 2014.

Scottish Government is committed to maintaining a transparent and robust service for seed certification, seed testing and the functions associated with certification. Over the next couple of years with the help of Key Stakeholders and volunteers from the seed industry, we will review how we provide official supervision for licenced individuals, the courses and exams run by SASA and hope to find more cost effective ways to undertake these tasks, but at the same time retain the level of effectiveness without it being a burden to either party.

In 2015, SG are to set up a series of workshops that will give you the opportunity to review our possible options and hopefully contribute to one of your own. More information will be provided on the workshops via the web, e-mails and seed cert letters. SG hopes that you will be able to attend.



Latest Changes to Legislation

Council Decision 2003/17/EC provides a list of countries to be recognised for the application of the equivalence principle for importation of fodder plant seed, cereal seed, beet seed and seed of oil and fibre plants from third countries. General licences 2013/1 and 2013/2 have been issued by the Scottish Government to allow this provision to continue until 31 December 2017, unless revoked earlier by Scottish Ministers.

General Licence 2013/1: Cereal Seed, Fodder Plant Seed and Oil & Fibre Plant Seed - Equivilence of field inspections carroiesd out in third world countries

General Licence 2013/2: Beet Seed - Equivilence of field inspections carried out in third countries

General Licence 2013/3: Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964* - The Cereal Seed (Scotland) Regulations 2005

SASA - Guidance Notes and Seed Certification Information Letters - simplification of what the changes in policy/Regulations means for the certification scheme.


October 2013


BSPB have issued a Question and Answer Guide to frequently asked enquires on farm–saved seed. You can find it on the BSPB web site at http://www.bspb.co.uk/sg_userfiles/Farm-Saved_Seed_FAQs_FINAL_Aut13.pdf

Please check it out and remind yourself the regulations surrounding farm saved seed.

Policy - Any consultations or results of consultations