The HTA has welcomed the final report of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Task Force which emphasises the economic and environmental imperatives of protecting the UK against plant disease in the future.
The Chalara outbreak has illustrated the severe implications that pests and diseases can have on the UK natural environment and rural economy. With many more diseases on the horizon, and with increased globalisation and changes in climate patterns, it is essential that the UK improves its plant biosecurity.
Gary Scroby, HTA Policy Manager comments; "The Task Force proposal for a single, prioritised risk register is one which industry fully supports. Our members need to know where to look for up-to-date scientific advice on plant health concerns, and it is therefore important that the proposed register is refreshed on a regular basis.
The Chalara episode has demonstrated the need for clear and prompt communications between the plant health authorities and nurseries, landowners and NGO stakeholders, and we therefore also welcome the recommendation to develop a modern, user-friendly system to disseminate information about plant health."
On announcing the publication of the Task Force report, the Secretary of State also indicated his commitment to negotiate vigorously to ensure the new EU regime for plant health strengthens both the EU and UK biosecurity.
Formal proposals were published on 06 May, and the HTA and other analogue associations are digesting the detail on this wide-ranging package of legislation.
Scroby adds "The industry supports improved biosecurity and we will be discussing this in detail at the HTA's conference on 30 May at Fera headquarters which will be opened by Lord de Mauley, the Defra Minister for Plant Health. The implications of the EU reforms are far-reaching, and we encourage nurseries, foresters, landowners, local authorities and contractors to attend this important event which we hope will inform Defra's negotiating position in Brussels
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is the trade association for the UK garden industry. It is dedicated to helping develop the industry and its member businesses, including most garden centres and other garden retailers, growers, landscapers, manufacturers and service providers.
The HTA was founded in 1899. Its key roles include: provision of advice-based services such as business improvement schemes, briefings and help lines; training, conferences and events for members; market information and research; promotions such as the National Garden Gift Voucher scheme; and working closely with government and the media to influence policy and projects.