Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

AHDB levy campaigners call on Defra to ‘respect’ industry ballot

PETITIONERS: The group of three who campaigned for a vote on the future of the AHDB levy.

Campaigners for the abolition of the AHDB potato and horticulture levies have voiced concerns that a new Defra consultation could overturn last year’s votes.

The trio of producers who triggered the votes on the future of the AHDB, who are known as the AHDB petitioners, say they fear Defra’s consultation on reforming the levy body. which closed two weeks ago, could be used to overturn the original ballots.

One of the petitioners, Lincolnshire vegetable and potato grower John Bratley said: “The two ballots had participation rates of 66% of eligible levy payers for horticulture and 64% for potatoes, and returned a clear majority against continuing with the statutory levy; 60% per cent against a horticulture levy and 66% per cent against a potato levy.

AHDB  Potatoes conducted trials on “strategic” farms.

“However, the last time Defra conducted its own consultation on AHDB in 2018 it obtained only a 0.5% response from the industry.

“This latest consultation exercise has been equally badly organised and poorly promoted, and so there is a danger that a vocal minority of growers who support some form of compulsory levy could influence the result.

“It is therefore crucial that Defra respects the result of the ballot, which was organised under the existing statutory instrument, and scrap the statutory levy for horticulture and potatoes.”

Lincolnshire vegetable farmer Peter Thorold added: “More than 480 horticultural growers and more than 790 potato levy payers vote to abolish the statutory levy and do away with AHDB which provided them with little benefit in return for the vast sums of money being collected.

“Based on previous experience, the Defra consultation is unlikely to attract more than handful of responses, and so it is crucial that these are not allowed to overturn such a clear mandate to abolish the levy.”

Potato producers voted to abolish the statutory AHDB levy last year.

Defra said responses to the consultation would be analysed and considered by Ministers in the UK Government and devolved administrations and a summary analysis would be published within 12 weeks of the closure of this consultation.

Meanwhile, flower grower Simon Redden – another of the petitioners – said research and development in the industry was continuing without funding from AHDB.

He added: “This is a chance for horticultural research to be as dynamic and fast-moving as the industry that is funding it. We also agree with other groups that the Government should do more to invest in this area.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in