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International Year of Plant Health 2020

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th November 2019.

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Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

I am well aware that Gail Ross is a keen gardener. She has experience that could be well shared with us all.

During the international year of plant health, our chief plant health officer’s team and the Plant Health Centre will be engaging with gardeners and the general public to raise awareness of biosecurity issues and the best practice that can be followed. Details on that will appear on the chief plant health officer’s web pages soon. Last year, we worked with the BBC’s “Beechgrove Garden” to highlight biosecurity issues to a wide audience.

We regularly liaise with stakeholders about biosecurity guidance and advice issues. We always advise gardeners to source plants from a reputable local trader that can advise where its plants have been sourced from, and we actively promote the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization’s “Don’t risk it” campaign, which highlights the danger of bringing home plants from overseas trips.

I cannot emphasise enough exactly how important the issue is, especially with regard to diseases that I mentioned in my statement, including Xylella, and the impact that they are having across Europe, particularly in Italy, where they have completely decimated olive tree plantations. We need to do absolutely everything that we can to prevent those diseases from reaching our shores.