Plants: Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st February 2018.

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Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire Conservative, East Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that effective biosecurity measures are in place to protect flora in the UK.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are committed to doing all we can to prevent plant pests and diseases reaching our borders and to build the resilience of our flora and other trees and plants. Our approach, led by the Government Chief Plant Health Officer, involves the systematic, proactive screening of potential new and emerging risks, which are listed in the Plant Health Risk Register.

There are regulations on importing plants and products from outside the UK where it is known that certain pests or pathogens are present. These are updated regularly in response to new evidence, such as that published by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation. We are working collaboratively with the EU and the broader international community, industry, NGOs, landowners and the public to reduce the risks of pests and diseases entering the country and the impact of newly established pests, including substantial programmes of work on, for example, the oak processionary moth and ash dieback.

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