Speakers for joint HTA and forestry body Confor biosecurity conference announced

Further details of a conference to be held by the HTA in association with forestry body Confor at food agency FERA's headquarters near York on 30th May have been announced.

Entitled ‘UK Plant Biosecurity – preparing for the threats of tomorrow’, the opening address, by Defra Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Lord de Mauley, 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 author and authority on the British countryside, Oliver Rackham, from Cambridge University.

Further speakers include top 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.

It also provides an opportunity for the trade to present concerns and solutions to policy decision-makers and to shape future regulation of the sector.

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