Arb Association issues biosecurity statement

The Arboricultural Association (AA) has published a position statement on biosecurity in arboriculture and urban forestry.

The eight-point document outlines the Association's commitment to promoting the implementation and understanding of good biosecurity practices to help protect UK trees from the introduction and spread of tree pests and diseases and invasive tree species. 

AA technical officer Simon Cox said ''While not all the guidelines are applicable to all people, there is great scope for them to be taken up by many sectors of arboriculture. For example, Kew Gardens and good landscapers are working according to similar principles already, but these guidelines may come as a shock to some.'

The statement requires AA's approved contractors to have a policy to be introduced either later this year or in 2017.

Cox added: ''This document is not an answer to all biosecurity problems, but it is a beginning. Our statement is an industry-led first step to build on the positive steps so far undertaken mainly by governmental organisations.

''This is just the beginning. Our position statement paves the way for further, more detailed guidance and suggested requirements for our industry. We are already helping those who wish to implement company-level biosecurity policy by producing a free-to-download outline document, which will soon be available from our website.''

The principles espoused in the position statement are supported by Defra, Forestry Commission, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, the National Association of Tree Officers, the Society of Garden Designers, the Trees and Design Action Group and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Barcham Trees' Keith Sacre, who is vice chairman of the AA, said: "[Biosecurity] is a real and ever-present issue all users of trees must face. We can't simply expect the authorities to take a lead - it requires companies and individuals to take responsibility for their actions. 

"The threats posed by pests and diseases have to be faced, and I feel it is irresponsible to ignore them and the actions we must take to prevent their arrival and proliferation. I hope the industry will rally behind the Association and give our statement its full support."


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