Future Threats

Defra manages the UK Plant Health Risk Register. 

Pest risk analyses (PRAs), which are ‘the process of evaluating biological or other scientific and economic evidence to determine whether a pest should be regulated and the strength of any phytosanitary [plant health] measures to be taken against it’, are undertaken to inform Defra in its policymaking activities. Any potential issues found in the glasshouse must be reported to the local Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate Office.

PRAs provide recommendations on specific issues following consultation with stakeholders and expert reviews. For example, there was a consultation on the new threat of Tuta absoluta in 2009 which resulted in statutory action, but following review it was concluded that ‘management by industry was the most appropriate option for this pest’. There is still an opportunity for stakeholders to comment. A range of management factsheets are available on pests and diseases which have undergone review.

Safeguarding plant health is one of Defra’s four priorities and the Government released its ‘Protecting Plant Health – A Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain’ in April 2014. The strategy sets out the Government’s approach to plant biosecurity, which focuses specifically on plant pests and sets out a vision for what is hoped to be achieved by 2020. The vision is to protect plants from pests that have been identified as priorities for action and to build awareness of the risks from pests, knowledge of how to reduce those risks and to introduce a system of management that will incentivise risk reduction. A conference on Innovation in Plant Biosecurity, to discuss novel strategies for improving plant biosecurity and establish a sustainable knowledge exchange, was organised by Fera in 2017.

Plant Health Australia has a guide to ‘Reducing the risk of pests entering and becoming established in your production nursery’, which is specific to their threats but has some general information which is relevant to all systems.