Study says taxpayers should be willing to fund pest and disease control measures

Taxpayers have to be more willing to pay for control measures or risk serious consequences for familiar landscapes and gardens, according to researchers carrying out investigations for the UK Research Council Rural Economy & Land Use Programme.

The social and natural scientists found that pathogens such as Phytophthora ramorum have the potential to kill large numbers of trees across a wide range of species, with serious consequences for heritage gardens, rural landscapes and the horticultural trade.

They suggested that Government agencies and third-sector environmental groups could give more attention to the threat that invasive diseases pose to biodiversity and use their influence to raise the awareness of both policy-makers and the public so those visiting gardens become more conscious of the dangers of cross-infection.

Acknowledging that diseases tend to come into the UK via imported plants, the researchers said the UK should acknowledge the difficult trade-offs to be made between freer trade and effective biosecurity.

Imperial College London's Dr Clive Potter, who led the research, said: "There is a need for a more critical and interdisciplinary analysis of the underlying causes of the growing threat to biosecurity and of conflicts between those advocating further market liberalisation in the context of the single European market and those arguing for restrictions on trade in the interests of biosecurity.

"In a more general sense, we also need much more public debate about the threat from tree diseases in relation to other, better recognised environmental challenges like climate change. Valuation surveys from our research suggest a lack of public awareness and this translated into an unwillingness to pay for control measures."

- The Food & Environment Research Agency is holding a meeting at the Landhydrock Hotel in Cornwall on 11 March to discuss the Phytophthora Programme. To attend, email Carol Jackson on

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

Mowers, turf care, battery equipment, seeds, arboriculture kit and weed control will all see a wide range of new releases at Saltex, Sally Drury reports.

Get set for Saltex 2017

Get set for Saltex 2017

This year's Saltex show at the NEC in Birmingham offers something for everyone, says Sally Drury.

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

IOG Saltex

Get set for IoG Saltex 2017 with our comprehensive show guide and exhibitor info.

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources