Summary of DEFRA's Plant Biosecurity Strategy
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published the Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain on the 9th January 2023.
It outlines the government’s new vision for plant biosecurity over the next 5 years.
The vision is:
“To protect Great Britain’s plants through a strong partnership of government, industry, and the public, working together to reduce and manage risks posed by plant pests and pathogens, and facilitate safe trade.”
The UK Value Of Plants
The Plant Biosecurity Strategy is key to protecting our plant health. Diseases and pests pose a huge threat to our natural environments, particularly native trees. The importance of a biodiverse ecosystem cannot be overlooked:
-Plants/trees provide 98% of the oxygen we breathe
-Plants/trees provide 80% of the food we eat
-They mitigate flood risk
-They remove air pollutants
-There are a plethora of other benefits
The vision is supported by the following outcomes:
Outcome 1: a world-class biosecurity regime
Utilising opportunities to tailor and strengthen the government’s response to prevent and manage the introduction and spread of pests and pathogens that pose a threat to Great Britain’s plant health.
Outcome 2: a society that values healthy plants
Encouraging the adoption of responsible behaviours across society by raising awareness of the importance of healthy plants and trees. Educating the public on the risks to the environment and empowering them to adopt positive behaviour changes.
Outcome 3: a biosecure plant supply chain
Government and industry working in partnership to support a biosecure plant supply chain. Everyone involved in the trade or movement of plants should take collective responsibility to make sure they can access the tools, resources and information needed to make informed plant biosecurity choices. Government initiatives include:
– The Plant Healthy Certification Scheme.
– The biosecure procurement requirement for suppliers of plants and trees.
– Ensuring trees have been raised from seed that are sourced and grown solely within the UK (this should help to safeguard our woodlands from the increasing threats of disease and pests).
– Investment in the Nature for Climate Fund (investing in quality, quantity and diversity of domestic trees).
Outcome 4: an enhanced technical capability
Building plant health science capability and making the best use of both existing and innovative technology to keep pace with changing threats, potential mitigations and ensure preparedness for the future.
We all have a responsibility when it comes to plant health and we can all take positive actions to increase biosecurity.
Published: 17th January 2023
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