GB Plant Biosecurity Strategy

19 October 2021

Crops Horticulture and potatoes Science and technology

The NFU has responded to a Defra consultation, providing views on proposals for the GB approach to plant biosecurity over the next five years.

This input will inform the new GB Plant Biosecurity Strategy that will be published later this year, building on the previous Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain published in 2014.

The scope of this consultation was limited to biosecurity of plants and plant products, including trees, vegetables, fruits, wood packaging material and cut flowers. It sought views on how government, the plant industry and the public can help to improve future plant biosecurity in Great Britain.

Specifically, the consultation asked for views on:

  • The effectiveness of the current plant and tree health regulations
  • Ways industry and government can work together to support a biosecure plant supply chain
  • How to enhance the nation’s technical capability, using innovative science and technology to keep pace with emerging threats and ensure preparedness for the future
  • Tougher action to protect against biosecurity risks associated with trees susceptible to high-risk pests and diseases.

You can read the full consultation document here: A plant biosecurity strategy for great Britain .

The consultation closed on 30 November 2021.

What is the NFU's position?

The NFU believes that fundamental changes are needed to create a more nuanced risk-based inspection regime that, alongside a re-evaluation of import inspection fees, will position UK growers on a level playing field with importers of finished plants.

The NFU’s position is underpinned by a fundamental belief that any future UK biosecurity strategy should support increased UK production, thereby reducing import levels and their associated biosecurity risks.

Our response also highlighted the need for greater public understanding of the importance of biosecurity and plant health to support a culture change to make plant health a national priority.

NFU senior plant health adviser Dr Spencer Collins said:

“The NFU agrees with the importance government places on preventing and controlling pests and diseases of crops, plants and trees – recognising the significant costs outbreaks have for farming businesses, the environment and the public.

“It is important that the new plant health biosecurity strategy for Great Britain follows a science-led risk-based approach that supports domestic production whilst ensuring GB plant health is maintained effectively”.

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