The value of all the economic, environmental, and social benefits that plants and trees provide each year in the UK is estimated at £15.7 billion? Healthy plants and trees benefit all, which is why it is so important that everyone works together to prevent the introduction and spread of organisms (non-native pests, such as insects, and disease-causing organisms) harmful to trees, woodlands, and forests.
Although tree pests and diseases can spread naturally with some pests and pathogens arrive on the wind, other pathways include people bringing plants back from abroad and the globalisation of trade, which has increased significantly over the last few decades and is seen as one of the major risk pathways.
The Biosecure Procurement Requirement Pilot means that, from June 2022, applicants for funding under the England Woodland Creation Offer and the Future Farming Tree Health Pilot must commit to sourcing their trees from suppliers who are either accredited under the Plant Healthy Certification Scheme or who have passed a Ready to Plant assessment. Fera Science Ltd (Fera) are proud to play their role in supporting this new Biosecurity pilot as the only organisation asked to manage the Ready To Plant (RTP) assessment element.
The threat of pests and disease is significant and growing so introducing the Biosecure Procurement Requirement Pilot now will address these risks to biosecurity, minimise the net loss to existing treescape, and serve to realise the long-term vision for trees and woodlands.
The RTP assessment requires:
- Tree suppliers must demonstrate their compliance with robust plant health management standards
- From June, applicants to government tree planting grants must source saplings from approved suppliers.
This pilot will enable suppliers to demonstrate that their operational practices comply with the industry benchmark Plant Health Management Standard. This Standard includes protocols which are key to developing a robust plant health management system and sets out practical requirements for suppliers to help protect the plant supply chain.
Professor Nicola Spence, UK Chief Plant Health Officer, said:
“Our biosecurity standards are among the highest in Europe. As we build back greener, we must consider new and ambitious ways to not simply maintain these standards but further strengthen them.
“By leading the way with this new pilot, we are addressing the significant and increasing threat of pests and diseases and building a strong biosecurity culture across the country.”
Sir William Worsley, Forestry Commission Chair, said:
“Our nation’s biosecurity will be integral to the success of our tree planting ambitions.
“This pilot will ensure that the forestry sector plays its role in upholding rigorous standards of biosecurity and in doing so, safeguards our much-loved trees and forests for generations to come.”
Glyn Jones, Head of Science (Plant) said:
“At Fera, we have a long track record of supporting government and policy by demonstrating the importance of science and data in monitoring and evaluating agri-environment schemes designed to support environmental sustainability manage land into the future. We were therefore very pleased to be awarded the role of assessors of RTP pilot and play our role in supporting the Biosecure Procurement Requirement Pilot.”
“It’s vital that those of us working across the agricultural and forestry industry recognise the support and guidance landowners and suppliers may need to strengthen UK biosecurity and support long-term plant health management decision making. We all have a role to play in ensuring our treescape remains viable from an economic, environmental and social perspective and we have to start acting now if we’re going to have the chance to make a notable difference for the generations that follow.”
To find out more about the new Biosecure Procurement Requirement Pilot's Ready to Plant scheme and how Fera can help you click here.