Defra forum issues biosecurity advice

Biosecurity issues linked to invasive plants and diseases such as Phytopthora need to be tackled by greater targeting of landscape architects and grounds maintenance staff, a Defra forum has concluded.

On non-native species, Defra's Steve Hunter said: "We need more information on what landscaping contractors are planting." There was a "need to understand that customers are always looking for something new".

The forum discussed the production of a countryside code and other awareness-raising initiatives. National campaigns such as Defra's Be Plant Wise launched in 2010 must get to local level and funding is needed to cascade knowledge, speakers agreed.

Government scientists asked whether tighter controls on imported biological material could help.

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