BRITAIN’S flight from the EU could have a damaging butterfly effect on one of the most niche businesses in the country.
Stratford Butterfly Farm is concerned its plight ahead of Brexit is so unusual it might be missed during negotiations and could cause long term problems for the popular Swan’s Nest Lane attraction..
General manager Richard Lamb is on a one-man mission to ensure Brexit does not mean major financial problems and job losses for the 32-year-old attraction which attracts 150,000 visitors a year.
To supplement the income the attraction generates from visitors, it imports and exports butterfly pupae in their thousands – and that is where Richard sees an issue with pulling out of the EU.
Every pupa that comes into the UK from farms around the world – from Kenya to Costa Rica – needs an EU standard Common Veterinary Entry Document. This means they can then be sold straight to European attractions and can be transported quickly, without red tape or additional administrative cost.
If speed drops or costs rise it could mean an end to export opportunities in Europe which would have a major damaging effect on the Butterfly Farm.
Mr Lamb – who has been with the farm since it first opened – said: “If boxes of pupae are hanging around in warehouses waiting to be delivered overseas, you could have butterflies hatching while they wait to be moved.
“Speed is absolutely key – any time lost because of additional regulation will mean we can’t deliver. My worry with Brexit is that we will have to certify the pupae on entry to the UK with a new standard and then the veterinary entry document will be applied when we move them into Europe.
“That’s where speed will be lost and by then the opportunity will have flown – literally.
“Equally, if there is a cost implication to needing the new standard, then customers just are not going to pay for it. Some want volumes as small as 50 at a time and up to a possible £300 on top of the existing admin costs will make it unviable.
“Some people think I should keep quiet on this topic but I feel if I don’t raise it now, it won’t be picked up when we negotiate Brexit and I’ll be left to pick up the pieces afterwards.”
Richard has raised the issue with Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi – who campaigned to leave the EU – and also brought it to the attention of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, which is running a Brexit Club for members to highlight concerns about the EU exit and also spell out opportunities it could bring.
He added: “A good Brexit for us would mean we could continue to operate in the same way – so that costs and delivery times don’t go up.”