The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) welcomes the Government launching its five-year GB Biosecurity Strategy. Significantly, the strategy proposes to increase the level of collaboration between Defra and industry in order to facilitate safe trade and reduce the risks posed by pests and diseases.
Additionally, Defra outlines plans for a campaign aimed at the general public to increase awareness of the importance of plants, as well as improved plant health understanding at educational level. HTA is a signatory to the Plant Health Accord, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of plant health to the public.
The four overarching themes proposed in the strategy include:
Jennifer Pheasey, HTA’s Director of Public Affairs commented, “HTA welcomes the GB Plant Biosecurity Strategy launched today. We will continue to engage with our members and Defra on this strategy in order to implement its key themes and enhance British biosecurity, which is a top priority for our sector.
“We support the ambitions contained within it and are keen to ensure that actions, when taken, will enable plants as part of a biosecure supply chain to be traded smoothly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
“The industry takes biosecurity very seriously and recognises that a biosecure supply chain is of critical importance. It is vital that imported products present the lowest risk profile possible through industry expertise, safe and secure supply chains, and a culture of biosecurity at every level.
“We urge the Government to work in collaboration with the sector and would highlight the need to conduct a comprehensive review and action on both undeclared plant imports and any e-commerce traders who are not operating securely, which pose a threat to British biosecurity, and to discuss further progressing an industry indemnity scheme.”
“A successful Strategy will mean the British public will have access to more of the healthy plants they want to grow in their gardens and see in the wider landscape, whilst ensuring they are healthy and pose little risk to the environment.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Government in the future to ensure our environment is enhanced by the plants and trees our industry works so hard to produce.”