New Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain


New biosecurity strategy to protect food security, trade and plant health

Defra, in partnership with the Forestry Commission and the Scottish and Welsh Governments has published a new action plan to protect plants from pests and diseases. 

The Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain sets out a five-year vision for plant health, consisting of an action plan to secure national biosecurity, protect native species and drive economic growth. It positions the UK as a global leader in plant biosecurity, setting out a vision to create a new biosecurity regime and bio-secure plant supply chain, which will safeguard food security and help mitigate the effects of climate change. It comes following updated figures which show that plants provide an annual value of £15.7 billion to the United Kingdom. The Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain will also set out how enhancements to the UK Plant Health Risk Register, which currently lists 1,200 pests and diseases of potential threat to our biosecurity, will improve our understanding of complex and cumulative risks to plant health

Phil Northing, Fera Science Limited (Fera) Head of Plant Protection Programme said: “Fera is playing a key role in the UK’s biosecurity regime; diagnosing pests and diseases on over 30,000 samples every year and providing advice, training and contingency response across the Defra family. We are also developing innovative solutions to support the Plant Health inspectors at Border Control Posts and providing expertise into the implementation of the Government’s 2025 UK Border strategy.

Raising awareness of the importance of healthy plants and trees is fundamentally important. Fera Plant Health experts regularly support STEM activities and, for example, are a key partner in the Observatree initiative – Defra’s flagship Citizen Science project.  We welcome the launch of the Plant Biosecurity strategy for Great Britain and are proud to be a partner and will continue to work closely with all our Plant Health colleagues in developing our services to further strengthen the UKs biosecurity regime."




 Lord Benyon, Minister for Biosecurity, said:  “This landmark strategy sets out how we will protect Great Britain’s plants, with the government, industry and the public working together to tackle the risks posed by plant pests and diseases. In light of climate change, tackling these varied and mounting risks will be critical to maintaining our food security, as well as facilitating safe trade amidst a challenging economic backdrop. 

Today’s announcement demonstrates this Government’s ironclad commitment to protecting and restoring our natural environment for future generations, as we deliver on our tree planting targets and ambition to achieve net zero.” 


Nicola Spence, UK Chief Plant Health Officer, said:  “Plant pests and diseases know no borders. As the global trade in plants and plant products continues to grow, our precious ecosystems, native species and biosecurity are at risk. The resultant threats posed to our treescapes, food security and the global economy are all too real. 

Therefore, I am proud to officially launch the Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain, which will deliver a step change in our plant health protections, actions and behaviours. This will position Great Britain as a global leader in plant biosecurity and set an example for the world to follow."



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