Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has announced that a new government strategy to protect plant health will be launched in the spring.
The objective is to safeguard plants of all types, and not just trees, by focussing on border control and raising awareness.
It follows recommendations by the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Task Force, which published a review in May calling for better risk assessment, contingency planning and the appointment of a chief plant health officer.
Accepting the advice, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will now set out a new approach to biosecurity for plants nationwide.
This will include pre-border activities to reduce the risk of pests and diseases arriving in the UK from overseas; activities at the border to reduce the risk of pests and diseases entering the country, and inland action to step up surveillance and improve preparedness.
“All of this will be informed by the risk register, which will be published in January,” commented Mr Paterson.
“It will be underpinned by a programme of work to build skills and capacity on plant health and to raise awareness of the threats facing our plants.”
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