Millions of plants could enter the UK in the personal baggage of holidaymaking Britons this year, potentially bringing new pests and diseases, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has said.
A survey by the group revealed that of more than half (57%) of respondents planning to travel abroad in the next 12 months, nearly one in 10 (9%) would consider bringing a plant back with them.
The RHS, along with Defra, is calling on holidaymakers not to bring plants back from abroad and instead purchase them in the UK in light of the growing plant health threats. Sue Biggs, director general, said: “For many people, wandering the olive groves of Italy and lavender fields of France are as much a part of the holiday experience as the cities and beaches.
“But we’re asking people to leave these beautiful plants where they are for future visitors to enjoy and not to bring them back home with them. This is vital if we are going to win the fight to protect our gardens against the growing threat of pests and diseases.”