A new EU-wide plant health regime is currently being negotiated that will become law in 12-18 months' time, she explained. "We want the focus to be on high-risk material from high-risk areas. There is an international standard for wood packaging but most people ignore it."
Since the general election, she added: "Ministers have been doing a lot of thinking about Defra's priorities and the developing of a tree health management plan. We have an overall plant biosecurity strategy that takes a risk-based approach.
"We want to know who is importing what, so we can inspect it. Passporting will also be strengthened, while five-to-10 risks are added to the UK Plant Health Risk Register every month. I hope to launch a register of professional plant health inspectors. But we also need you as an industry to tell us - surveillance is key."
Defra "funds a lot of technology, especially in tree health," she added. "We can get a species diagnosis in 20 minutes at places like ports. We also run helicopter flights, use aerial photography and drones, and have even used sniffer dogs to detect citrus long-horn beetle."