Plant health conference to debate ash dieback

The Horticultural Trades Association and forestry body Confor have organised a plant health conference for 30 May.

 ‘UK Plant Biosecurity – preparing for the threats of tomorrow’, will be held at FERA’s headquarters near York.
The opening address will be made by Defra Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Lord de Mauley, who will outline the Government’s view on the importance of preventing and controlling pests and diseases that could damage the UK environment. Delegates will also hear from Cambridge University tree expert Oliver Rackham.
Further speakers include plant health officials, Julie Hitchcock and Martin Ward from Defra, on threats facing the UK plant trade. An industry panel which includes Martin Ward, John Morgan (Forestry Commission), Jamie Dewhurst (J&A Growers), Simon Ellis (W Crowders and Sons Nurseries) and Harry Frew (Cheviot Trees and representing ConFor), will debate the lessons learned from the 2012 chalara outbreak.
Breakout sessions will focus separately on the needs and concerns of the forestry and amenity/retail sectors of the trade and consider the options for building resilience in the sector, replant grants, improving traceability, codes of practice and reducing the risks to industry.
The conference, supported by HDC and FERA, aims to bring together nurseries, retailers, specifiers and landscapers with regulators and NGO’s to identify an action plan for regulators and the industry to minimise the threat to the UK environment while "developing a strong and thriving UK production industry", the organisations said.

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