Scottish government focuses on plant health

18th March 2014

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James Wyse

The Scottish government is developing a strategy to safeguard plant health, which will clarify the private sector's role in tackling diseases and invasive species

Scotland’s environment minister Paul Wheelhouse has announced that the devolved government is creating a strategy for the protection of plant health.

Alongside covering the threats to the agricultural and forestry sectors, the strategy will also include details of measures to protect plants within conservation sites, parks and “the wider environment”.

In a speech at the Scottish Plant Health Event in Edinburgh today (18 March 2014), Wheelhouse confirmed the plan will identify the government’s priorities for plant health policies and clarify the responsibilities of both government agencies and industry organisations in protecting species from pests and diseases.

“Plant health is the root of Scotland’s thriving natural environment and booming rural economy. However, the number of plant health threats is rising, and the spread of these has been exacerbated by aspects of globalisation and climate change,” said Wheelhouse.

“The development of a Scottish plant health strategy in response is essential, and this will be hugely beneficial to tackling the challenges. It will also make clear that no single measure in isolation can rule out the threat of pests and diseases.”

According to the Scottish authorities, the industry sectors exposed to plant health threats are worth £1.6 billion annually to the country’s economy.

“It is imperative that we have all the interested parties working together to support Scotland’s natural environment and the industries depending on it, and this new strategy is a key step forward to ensure effective collaboration,” commented Wheelhouse.

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