Guidance

Add a new plant variety to the national lists

How to apply for national listing of agricultural and vegetable plant varieties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

You must add a new plant variety to the UK’s national lists if you want to market them. You could be prosecuted if you do not.

The monthly Seeds Gazette publishes information on national list applications for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland variety lists, including:

  • applications made
  • applications withdrawn
  • proposed decisions to accept or refuse a plant variety on to the national list
  • decisions of the tribunal made on an appeal
  • changes to a national list award or application

You can use the Gazette to follow the progress of an application through the national listing process.

The special edition publishes the approved Great Britain and Northern Ireland variety lists of:

  • agricultural plant species
  • vegetable plant species

Plant breeders’ rights give you intellectual property rights over your plant varieties in the UK. This is a separate application to national listing. You can apply for plant breeders’ rights, if you’ve:

  • bred, discovered or developed a plant variety
  • been chosen by the breeder as their successor

You can apply for national listing and plant breeders’ rights at the same time for agricultural and vegetable varieties. If you do, you’ll only have to pay for the cost of one application.

If you apply for national listing and plant breeders’ rights separately, you’ll pay the cost of 2 applications.

Species varieties that need to be listed

Check if your plant variety needs to be registered on the Great Britain and Northern Ireland variety lists.

How to apply for national listing

To get your variety on the national lists, you must follow these steps:

  1. Create your own breeders’ reference - this is a unique reference you must give to each new variety. (If you’ve already named your variety, that can be your breeders’ reference.)

  2. Choose a maintainer.

Once you have done this, you must then follow these steps:

  1. Apply online using UPOV PRISMA.

  2. Send your sample off to be tested for DUS.

  3. Send your sample off for value for cultivation and use (VCU) trial testing - this only applies to potatoes and agricultural crops, not vegetables.

VCU trials run at the same time as DUS testing.

Name your new variety

If you’ve not decided on a name when you submit your application, you must submit one by email during the application period.

A variety cannot be awarded national listing without an approved name.

It is advisable to send in naming proposals as soon as possible. The process of accepting a naming proposal can take up to 5 months to complete.

How to choose a name

Choose a name that:

  • is not already used by a variety of the same species
  • cannot be confused with the name of another variety or other goods
  • does not cause problems with recognition or production
  • accurately represents the variety or its characteristics

You can use a trademark or trade name when you sell seeds of the plant, but the name registered on the national list must be clearly shown on the packaging.

Objections to a proposed name or proposed change of name

Any person can object to the naming of a variety.

Objecting a variety name

Anyone who objects to a name must contact APHA to make an objection within 3 months of the decision being published in the Gazette. APHA will respond explaining the objections process and how to pay the £30 fee.

APHA will write to you and tell you if your objection is successful or not.

Appealing an objection to your variety name

If someone has objected to the naming of your variety, APHA will contact you with advice. This will include how to appeal.

Changing a name after approval

If you want to change the name after it’s been approved and is on the national list, you must email AHPA with the reason why you’d like to change the name. If the change is accepted, it’ll cost you £30.

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Email: pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk

Choose a maintainer for your variety

You must arrange for someone to maintain your variety before it’s added to the national list.

Your maintainer must:

  • keep records of all the generations of the varieties - produce these if requested
  • allow authorised officers to inspect or examine any plants or plant material - provide samples if required

Anyone can apply to maintain a plant variety. Complete a maintainer form to apply to be a maintainer of a plant variety on the Great Britain and Northern Ireland variety lists. APHA will delete your variety from the list if nobody can maintain it.

Who can be a maintainer

The maintainer can be in a country granted equivalence. You can find a list of countries with species the UK will accept as meeting equivalence for variety maintenance.

If a country has not been granted equivalence for maintenance of varieties, you’ll need a UK maintainer.

Further applications can be made if you want to propose additional maintainers or need to change a maintainer.

Start your national list application on UPOV PRISMA

All applications for Great Britain and Northern Ireland variety listing must use the UPOV PRISMA online application process. Do this by:

  1. Setting up an account.

  2. Logging into your account.

  3. Completing and sending an application on UPOV PRISMA.

  4. Completing and uploading a maintain a plant variety form.

  5. Completing and uploading an authorisation of agent form, if you want to authorise an agent to apply on your behalf.

  6. Paying the UPOV PRISMA service fee - you will need to pay this for each variety.

You can apply yourself or you can get an agent to apply for you.

After you’ve completed and submitted your application, you will get an email to confirm your application has been received.

You’ll get another email to let you know if your application has been accepted. APHA will invoice you an application fee once your application has been published in the Seeds Gazette.

This does not mean that your variety has been approved and awarded.

Exceptions

Amateur vegetables and conservation varieties do not need to use UPOV PRISMA to apply for UK national listing.

Authorise an agent

If you would like an agent to apply on your behalf, complete the ‘authorisation of agent’ form and upload this to UPOV PRISMA with your application.

If you, or your chosen agent are not based in the UK, you’ll need to appoint an agent who has a UK address. This can be anyone in the UK, including your distributor.

If you authorise an agent after you’ve applied, you can email APHA with the completed ‘authorisation of agent’ form.

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Email: pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk

Get your variety DUS tested

After you have applied for national listing on UPOV PRISMA, your plant variety must be tested to check if it’s a new variety. This is known as DUS (distinct, uniform and stable) testing.

You’ll get your application for protection (AFP) number from APHA once your UPOV PRISMA application has been accepted.

You’ll need to provide your AFP number when you send your sample for testing, so the test centre can match your application to your sample.

You need to pay to send your sample to the test centre and APHA will invoice you for the DUS testing.

National listing: application closing dates

Make sure you complete your UPOV PRISMA application and send your seed samples for DUS testing and VCU trials by the dates set out in the tables.

If the closing date falls at a weekend or on a bank holiday, the application and sample can be received the next working day. Anything received after the closing date will not be tested or trialled in that year.

Your application will be processed after the closing date.

Spring sown agricultural crops

Species Closing date for receipt of applications Closing date for receipt of sample
Spring wheat 22 September 23 October
Annual meadowgrass, wood meadowgrass, smooth-stalked meadowgrass and rough-stalked meadowgrass 3 October 15 December
Brown top, red top, creeping bent and velvet bent 3 October 15 January the year after application
Common vetch 1 November 29 November
Spring lupin, spring rye, spring spelt wheat and spring triticale 30 November 10 January the following year after application
Spring barley and spring oats 30 November 15 January the following year after application
Spring field pea and spring field bean 30 November 31 January the following year after application
Red clover, alsike clover, meadow fescue, tall oatgrass, birdsfoot trefoil, cocksfoot, lucerne, sainfoin, tall fescue, red fescue (chewings fescue), Alaska brome grass, rescue grass, black medick, Hungarian vetch, hairy vetch, timothy and small timothy 30 November When requested
Spring linseed, spring flax, spring oil seed rape 15 December 15 December
Ryegrass, white clover, festulolium 5 January 5 February
Sunflower 7 January 1 February
Sugar beet 15 January 1 February
Spring forage rape, spring turnip rape, fodder beet (mangels), fodder kale, swede, fodder radish 15 January 15 February
Mustard, potatoes, hemp 15 December 15 January the following year after application
Maize 1 February 15 February
Soya beans 15 January 15 January

Autumn sown agricultural crops

Species Closing date for receipt of applications Closing date for receipt of sample
Winter wheat, winter oats and winter lupin 31 August 15 September
Winter field beans 12 September 1 October
Winter oilseed rape (GM only) 30 June 10 August
Winter turnip rape 1 July 31 July
Winter field peas 11 July 1 October
Winter forage rape and winter oilseed rape (non-GM) 10 August 10 August
Winter linseed 15 August 1 September
Winter rye, winter spelt wheat and winter triticale 17 August 1 September
Winter barley 24 August 8 September

Vegetable varieties

Species Closing date for receipt of applications Closing date for receipt of sample
Beetroot 31 January 28 February
Broad bean 15 January 15 February
Broccoli, calabrese and sprouting Broccoli 15 February 15 March
Brussels sprout 31 January 28 February
Cabbage All year round All year round
Carrot 28 February 31 March
Cauliflower All year round All year round
Celeriac 28 February 15 March
Celery 28 February 31 March
Chinese cabbage All year round All year round
Cucumber All year round All year round
Endive All year round All year round
French bean All year round All year round
Gourds All year round All year round
Kale, including tronchuda, palm kale and vegetable napus kales 31 January 28 February
Kohlrabi All year round All year round
Leek (vegetatively propagated) 31 December 15 April the following year after application
Leek (seed propagated) 31 December 31 January the following year after application
Lettuce All year round All year round
Marrow All year round All year round
Melons All year round All year round
Onions (over wintered) 15 June 15 July
Onions (spring sown) 31 December 31 January the following year after application
Parsley All year round All year round
Pea 15 January 15 February
Radish 28 February 31 March
Radish (black) 31 March 30 April
Runner bean 30 November 31 January the following year after application
Shallot (seed propagated) 31 January 28 February
Shallot (vegetatively propagated) 1 March 31 March
Spinach All year round All year round
Sweet corn All year round All year round
Tomatoes All year round All year round
Turnip 31 December 31 January the following year after application

Application fees

Read the application costs for different varieties to calculate the total amount you’ll need to pay.

If you need plant breeders’ rights as well as national listing, you can apply for both at the same time for the price of one administration fee.

If you apply for plant breeders’ rights separately at a later date, you’ll have to pay a separate administration fee.

VCU trials

After you’ve applied for national listing using UPOV PRISMA, the following must be tested for value for cultivation and use (VCU):

  • agricultural varieties (including herbage varieties)
  • potatoes

The organiser of the VCU trials will usually ask you to send them seed or plant material for testing. They’ll tell you how much material to send and when.

Testing takes:

  • 4 years for herbage varieties (for example, grasses)
  • 2 years for other varieties

APHA will send you copies of the results of your tests when a decision on listing has been made.

The testing is done by:

Extra tests of parental species might be needed if you’re registering hybrid varieties.

Email pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk if you need a copy of the UK VCU procedures or protocols.

Get a published decision

You can use the monthly Seeds Gazette to follow the progress of an application through the national list process.

It will give notice about any of the following Great Britain and Northern Ireland variety list applications:

  • application made
  • application which is withdrawn
  • proposed decision to accept or refuse a plant variety on to the national list
  • decision of the tribunal made on an appeal
  • changes to a national list award or application

APHA will also publish the decision on whether to accept or refuse your variety in the monthly Seeds Gazette. Varieties will be added to the national list if:

  • you’ve passed the tests
  • nobody has objected
  • no new evidence shows that the proposed decision is wrong

New listed varieties are published in the Gazette, together with their maintainer and any agents.

All varieties that have a UK national listing appear in the special edition.

Object to a national list decision

You can object to a decision for a national listing if it is a proposed addition or a refusal. This is known as ‘making a representation’.

You must make your representation to APHA by email or by post within 14 days of the decision being published in the Seeds Gazette.

Your representation must include the:

  • variety name
  • species
  • AFP number as advertised in the gazette

You must send your representation to:

Email: pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk

Plant Varieties and Seeds
Animal and Plant Health Agency
Eastbrook
Shaftesbury Road
Cambridge
CB2 8DR

APHA will contact you by email or post when they have made a decision. The results will be published in the Seeds Gazette.

National list application records

APHA keeps records of all applications for the national list. This information includes:

  • when the application was received and its reference number
  • when the application was published in the gazette
  • the name and address of the applicant
  • a description of the characteristics of the plant variety provided by the applicant
  • the proposed name of the variety, as published in the gazette
  • any other information that the Secretary of State may ask you to provide

Anyone can access these records on request.

For varieties that have been added to the national list, APHA will record:

  • the species, name and a description of the variety
  • when the variety was accepted onto the list
  • a summary of all the facts on which the acceptance was based
  • the reference number under which the variety was accepted for marketing (for genetically modified varieties and foods)
  • when the listing will expire
  • the name and address of the maintainer
  • details of 10-year renewals

Extending your listing

If your variety is accepted onto the national list, it will remain on the list until 31 December of the 10th year after it was added.

If you want to keep your variety on the national list after this date, you need to request an extension. APHA must receive your request before your current acceptance expires.

Tab 7(c) of the monthly Seeds Gazette lists varieties that have reached the 8 year point.

If you do not apply to extend your listing, your variety will be deleted from the national list at the end of the 10 year period.

Your request must include your:

  • company name

  • company address

  • AFP number

  • variety type

  • variety name

Send your extension request to:

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Email: pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk

Additional rules for genetically modified varieties

There are additional rules for genetically modified:

  • plants
  • food
  • agricultural crops

After you’ve got the consents you need, you must tell APHA if you’re applying to get a genetically modified variety on the national list by emailing them.

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Email: pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk

Genetically modified plants

You will need to get consent from the relevant organisation. You should include a copy of your consent in your application.

Contact the Food Standards Agency.

Food Standards Agency
Telephone: 020 7276 8829
Email: helpline@foodstandards.gov.uk

Contact the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

Defra
Telephone: 020 7238 2051
Email: gm-regulation@defra.gov.uk

Genetically modified food

You must get all the necessary food and feedstuffs authorisations. Contact gm-regulation@defra.gov.uk to find out which authorisations you need.

Genetically modified agricultural crops

You can only add agricultural varieties to the national list if they improve the cultivation or quality of its crops or products.

APHA will tell you if you need to pay for a test to prove this before you apply. Email pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk for more information.

Exceptions: amateur vegetables and conservation varieties

Amateur vegetables and conversation varieties have different application processes for UK national listing.

Amateur vegetables

You can register amateur vegetables for sale in small packets. For example, a variety developed with no commercial value.

You’ll have to pay an administration fee.

Complete this form to apply to add an amateur vegetable to the national lists and send it to AHPA’s email address.

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Email: pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk

Conversation varieties

For conservation varieties, you can choose to register plants for:

  • agricultural conservation - for example, a variety that is naturally found locally and is threatened by genetic erosion
  • vegetable conservation - for example, a variety that has been traditionally grown locally and is threatened by genetic erosion

There is no form for conservation varieties. You must email AHPA with:

  • your name, address and contact details
  • the species and proposed variety name - the variety name will normally be that under which the variety is historically known
  • a description of the variety using the DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) criteria - if you cannot describe your variety, contact APHA for advice
  • a brief history of the variety including information from your experience during its cultivation, reproduction and use
  • evidence of the variety’s conservation status and regional adaptation as well as its region of origin - for example, where it has historically been grown and is naturally adapted
  • include information on when the variety was removed from the national list if it was previously listed - if you’re unsure, please ask APHA, who’ll check as part of the application process

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Email: pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk

You’ll have to pay an administration fee.

If your application is successful, you must send a representative sample of the seed to:

Plant Varieties and Seeds
Animal and Plant Health Agency
Eastbrook
Shaftesbury Road
Cambridge
CB2 8DR

Contacts

For queries regarding:

  • new national list applications
  • ongoing national list applications
  • existing national list awards
  • general national list enquiries

E-mail: pvs.helpdesk@apha.gov.uk

You should include the:

  • species name in the subject title
  • AFP number of the variety if you have one

For Integrated VCU trials, contact Jeremy Widdowson:

Jeremy Widdowson
BSPB House
114 Lancaster Way
CB6 3NX

Telephone: 013 5365 3846
Email: jeremy.widdowson@bspb.co.uk

You can call the Defra Rural Services Helpline for England.

Telephone: 03000 200 301

Published 7 September 2012
Last updated 9 August 2022 + show all updates
  1. Edited Object to a national list decision - provides more information on how to make a representation.

  2. Added ‘Extending your listing’ section. If you do not apply to renew your application, your variety will be deleted from the national list at the end of the 10 year period.

  3. You should now email NLPBR-Applications@apha.gov.uk if you need a copy of the UK value for cultivation and use (VCU) procedures or protocols.

  4. The closing date for the receipt of samples for spring linseed, spring flax and spring oilseed rape has been changed to 15 December.

  5. Contact details updated

  6. Spring wheat value for cultivation and use (VCU) date changed from 15 January to 23 October

  7. Added link to list of countries with species the UK will accept as meeting equivalence for variety maintenance.

  8. Updated with guidance on how to comply with rules from 1 January

  9. New information about the monthly gazette and seeds edition, tables of different plant varieties and closing dates for applications.

  10. August 20-19 gazette now available.

  11. mention of latest special edition 2019/2

  12. July 2019 gazette now available

  13. June gazette now available

  14. Announcement of the May 2019 gazette

  15. Announcement of April 2019 gazette

  16. March gazette now available.

  17. February 2019 gazette now available

  18. Announcement of the 2019/01 special edition gazette

  19. January gazette 2019 now available.

  20. December gazette now available

  21. November gazette now available

  22. October Gazette now available.

  23. Content updated - September 2018 gazette now available.

  24. Updated address for paying by cheque

  25. Pay by credit card or bank transfer update: changed telephone number and email.

  26. Added link to 'application to maintain a plant variety' form. Added section 'National list conservation varieties: make an application'. Added link to application to add an amateur vegetable to the National List.

  27. Reviewed and redrafted in line with GOV.UK style and Defra guidance review

  28. November 2015 Gazette published

  29. September 2015 gazette published.

  30. First published.