Plant Health Risk Register Launched
The Ministerial Plant Health Summit, which took place on 20 January, saw the launch of a UK Plant Health Risk Register.
The Register, which is now publicly available, represents a major step in implementing the recommendations of the independent Task Force on Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity. It is a tool for government, industry and stakeholders to prioritise action against pests and diseases which threaten our crops, trees, gardens and countryside. These actions may include regulation, research, contingency planning, publicity, surveys and detailed risk assessment, depending on the characteristics of the organism.
Impact of Organisms Identified
668 organism have so far been rated for the likelihood and impact of them becoming established in the UK, or for spreading further within the UK. The Register has initially on regulated pests, those where actions have been recommended by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation and others where UK action has been considered (e.g. following the production of a Pest Risk Analysis).
UK Plant Health Risk Group
Devolved Administrations, Forestry Commission, stakeholder organisations and experts from the Task Force were involved in the Risk Register’s development. It will continue to be updated and ratings assessed, through the monthly cycle of the UK Plant Health Risk Group. The group will make such changes in the light of new intelligence from around the world and developments in the UK. All UK Plant Health Authorities and stakeholders will continue to have the opportunity to make proposals for entries on the Risk Register and to comment on its outputs.
Other countries around the world are following the development with interest and are showing interest in adopting similar methodology.
A project on methodology for phase 2 is considering further how crops, trees and other plants are valued for their contribution to our economy, our society and our environment. The phase 2 project will also look at how impacts are measured, how we take into account the cost and effectiveness of measures to reduce risk, and how we address the variation in risks over time, and between different parts of the UK.
The Risk Register and a guidance document can be accessed through the Plant Health section of the Fera website.