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The world’s best-selling gardening author has slammed EU bureaucrats for banning garden chemicals.

Expert books author Dr DG Hessayon accused the EU of stifling gardening with “silly” box-ticking bureaucracy.

Expert books author Dr D G Hessayon

This, he said, was diminishing the number of products available for controlling plant problems.

David Hessayon, 83, said: “If something is to be banned, the Government has to give a reason why it suddenly finds this is dangerous. It can’t just say ‘stop’ for established products.”

Plants are under threat from new pests and diseases and in some cases there are no sprays left to control them. Impatiens downy mildew has devastated busy Lizzies while fuchsia gall mite is spreading nationwide.

The Doc added: “My new bugbear is the growth of bureaucracy. The Government tries to make sure stuff is safe – that’s fine. When I began in this industry there were sometimes areas where you needed more bureaucracy.

“But a tide of regulations and the rule of health and safety hit us and the pendulum has gone the other way. Some rules are silly; others are counter-productive.

“I was selling Derris in the 1950s. The EU suddenly decided a box had to be ticked and it was banned in 2008.

“Hell, let it go, ban it, because it was not sold much and no-one was going to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds so it could tick those boxes. No trade association said ‘please tell us what harm it’s doing before you ban it?’”

Dr Hessayon, who published his first Expert book in 1958 (pictured, inset), said pesticide testing had been “toughened up” since he helped to bring Dithane to Britain from America.

He said he was glad arsenic for agricultural use had been banned, as well as nicotine and mercury-based garden products.

The Doc, who turns 84 this month, said he would not retire – even though he has sold 54million Expert guides.

Over 28 Expert titles are sold worldwide in 22 languages. He said he has three more original title ideas up his sleeve.