Biosecurity Update

12 June 2017

DEFRA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) have prepared this useful summary that highlights the importance of good biosecurity, steps you can take, and where you can find further information on this issue.

May 2017-Biosecurity Script for stakeholders

We have developed this biosecurity script in response to requests from stakeholders, and to highlight the importance of good biosecurity, steps people can take, and where you can find further information on this issue.

Our ask of you:

  • We would like you, as individuals and organisations, to use this information to help improve biosecurity and reduce the risk of disease and pests spreading.
  • We encourage you to share, and disseminate this information as widely as possible, within your organisation, your members, and visitors.
  • We welcome your feedback on the accessibility and usefulness of the information available on biosecurity.
  • We would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you on biosecurity messaging in the future.

Please send any comments or feedback to


Why is biosecurity important?

  • Our plants and trees are vital national assets, providing economic, environmental and social benefits.
  • An estimated £6bn value to UK society each year comes from maintaining healthy crops and forestry.  This comprises £3.3bn of commercial crop value, around £1.8bn of social/environmental value of forestry and £0.9bn direct commercial value of forestry and sawmilling. The true value is likely to be considerably higher than £6bn, as many social and environmental benefits cannot readily be monetised.
  • Furthermore, food and drink exports are worth around £20.1bn (2013) to the UK economy. These exports rely on our excellent plant and animal health status.
  • In addition to the importance of protecting our native biodiversity for its own sake, a healthy, vibrant environment supports an outdoor recreation industry estimated to be worth £20.4 billion.
  • Threats to plant health have increased with globalisation in trade and travel and an increased volume and diversity of plant products entering the UK.
  • We all have a role to play in protecting our nation from plant pests and diseases. All sectors have a common interest in ensuring that the UK maintains a high standard of plant health and biosecurity. It is vital that we work together to achieve our collective goal of enhancing biosecurity.
  • There are some excellent resources and guidance available for various audiences and different sector.
  • For general advice on biosecurity:
  • An online hub for plant health information, data and resources:

Visitors and the General Public

Professional sector

  • Advice for industry on good biosecurity
  • Sourcing of plants:
    • Try to use UK growers
    • Ask where it originated from as suppliers might have brought it in from overseas
    • Visit the grower’s site to check it. The grower might be able to ‘quarantine’ it for you for a period of time.
  • Plant Passports - Check for plant passports information
  • Keep yourself and equipment clean - You could be transferring pests or disease around all your sites with infected equipment and vehicles, if not washed down regularly. Videos such as Stop the Spread include practical guidance: as do Forestry Commission resources:
  • Know your pests and diseases - Keep up to date on seasonal threats and their lifecycles with the plant health portal:  and the RHS:
  • If in doubt, report it through TreeAlert - As professionals, you know when things are right and when they are not. A quick response can dramatically reduce the impact of control measures when they’re needed.
  • Thereare a number of publicity materials available that we would be happy to share with your organisations, including Z-Cards for the Arboriculture, Forestry and Landscaper sectors, available online via the FC (link above), AA and LI.
  • Symptoms Guides – Downloadable from the FC Keep it Clean (KiC) and Arboriculture Association website.

Landowner/Manager Guidance:

  • Work in developments which will be launched later this year. The existing toolkit will be refined in consultation with key stakeholders.