Plant biosecurity and Plant Healthy

It is recognised that the most common way for plant pests and diseases to be introduced into a new area is by the movement of live plants. Plant Healthy aims to help professionals grow and supply healthy plants. This website provides information on how to minimise the risk of introducing and spreading pests when growing, handling and managing plant material. This is with an aim of halting the spread of damaging plant pests and diseases.

The need for plant biosecurity

Plant life is under threat from pests. For example, the 2019 IUCN European Red List of Trees indicated that 42% of European trees are considered as having a high risk of extinction with the primary threat being from invasive species i.e. plant pests.

It is not just trees that are threatened. Xylella fastidiosa can infect over 600 plant species, including: periwinkle, lavender, oak, rosemary, bay, plane, fig and cherry. The European Commission describes “Xylella as one of the most dangerous plant bacteria worldwide, with huge economic impact for agriculture, gardens and the environment”. Xylella, recently introduced to Europe, is decimating some orchards in southerly regions of the continent where the disease is present. This bacterium is spreading northward. It is imperative Xylella does not enter the UK.

The Plant Health Management Standard

The Standard is a document that has been developed by industry, with input from government and third sector organisations. It sets out key requirements for implementing plant biosecurity systems and relates to a range of horticultural businesses and organisations. These include: commercial nurseries, plant retailers, landscape management businesses, arborists and public gardens.

Plant Healthy Certification Scheme

The Standard is the technical document that the voluntary Plant Healthy Certification Scheme is based upon. The Scheme will enable businesses and organisations to be independently audited as a means of formally demonstrating that they comply with the Plant Health Management Standard.

The ultimate aim is for the Scheme to be adopted across the ornamental and amenity horticulture supply chain to make it easy to identify businesses and organisations that handle plant material in a manner that promotes plant health and biosecurity.

Alistair Yeomans is the Scheme Manager
for the Plant Healthy Certification Scheme - please feel free to contact Alistair to ask about Plant Healthy