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Agriculture Edwin Poots has visited Lisburn Cricket Club after concerns were raised about Loam products for cricket pitches moving from GB to NI.

The Minister met with Dean Simpson, Lisburn Cricket Club and Uel Graham, Northern Cricket Union, to hear their concerns and has urgently discussed the issue with his officials.

Minister Poots said: “Despite recent comments and media reports, I can confirm that Loam products, because of their low risk, are not regulated and therefore can be moved from GB to NI free from SPS requirements.

“Unfortunately, recent commentary has caused a lot of unnecessary concern amongst the cricketing family, but I am pleased to add some clarity to the matter.”

Surrey Loam is a manufactured product used for stabilising cricket pitch wickets, usually at the end of the season. The product is clay and sand based and is not capable of harbouring quarantine union pests. As such it does not come under the official control requirements that apply to soil when presented as a growing medium.

The Minister continued: “I acknowledge the UKG announcement of 4 March, providing easements on the wider movement of soil as a growing medium, enabling the movement of bulbs, vegetables and containerised plants within the horticulture sector. This will provide some welcome breathing space for businesses, however it is clear that the Northern Ireland Protocol continues to cause concern among NI businesses, and I will continue to push the UK Government and EU to find permanent solutions to the issues it presents.”