RHS Wisley at risk

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), is asking for support to help it fight two planning applications for commercial waste management sites near its largest garden, at Wisley in Surrey. The RHS is the first to challenge waste planning applications on the grounds of the threat to plant health from wind-borne pathogens released during the waste handling process.

Jim Gardiner, Curator of RHS Garden Wisley said, “Wisley is home to an internationally important plant collection, approaching 30,000 taxa, one of the most comprehensive gardens of cultivated plants in the world which attracts more than 800,000 visitors each year. It holds seven National Plant collections and over 600 of its plants are listed on the IUCN Red Data Book – a directory that identifies particular species including plants and animals, at risk of extinction. If the proposed waste management facilities were approved, all this could be at risk.”

Simon Thornton Wood, Director of Science and Learning, RHS, said, “Too little is known about the impact of bioaerosols released from industrial scale waste sites. We believe we are the first organisation to challenge waste planning applications under the EU Waste Framework Directive concerning risk to plants. We have commissioned a report from independent environmental consultants, ENVIRON, which indicates that there is a significant risk to plant health and an identifiable risk to the ecological health of the surrounding area.”

The charity is appealing through its website www.rhs.org.uk to its 360,000 strong membership to register objections to the planning proposals.

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