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Plant health

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There are many plant pests and diseases. These could cause serious damage to our crops and plants if they were to become established in Wales.

To guard against the spread of harmful organisms, official controls apply to the:

  • import
  • movement 
  • keeping of certain plants, plant pests and other material.

Plant Health policies and regulation are designed to prevent the introduction or spread of serious plant pests and diseases, which threaten agriculture and the environment. They also ensure as far as possible that markets in agricultural produce are not adversely affected by plant health problems.

The UK Plant Health Services comprise Defra, together with the Forestry Commission (FC) and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man are also represented. The services work with international bodies, other European and EU Member States and the European Commission to agree appropriate plant health rules and co-ordinate their implementation

The Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI) are responsible for implementing the plant health regulations in England and Wales, on behalf the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) (external link) and the Welsh Government. Other parties who perform Plant Health surveillance in Wales are the Natural Resources for Wales.

The Welsh Government, in partnership with the Animal and Plant health Agency (APHA) (external link) and Natural Resources Wales (external link) monitor and where necessary control:

  • Phytophthora ramorum 
  • Phytophthora kernoviae.

Phytophthora ramorum causes dieback of plants such as:

  • Rhododendron
  • Vaccinium (blueberry) species
  • Japanese Larch trees.

Sampling by APHA during 2006 confirmed a section of the River Teifi (Cardigan Bridge to Llanfair Clydogau) was infected with Ralstonia solanacearum.  The bacterium causes Potato Brown Rot.

Further information about Potato Brown Rot is available on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website (external link).

The Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain (external link) has been developed on a UK basis, building on extensive cooperation between the three administrations (Welsh Government, DEFRA, and the Scottish Government). Plant health policy is devolved but all the UK administrations work within the framework of EU plant health law and work collaboratively to build consistent approaches to the implementation of biosecurity.

UK co-ordination and communication is facilitated through the monthly UK Plant Health Risk Group, at which all UK plant health authorities are represented.  There is also a 6-monthly UK co-ordination meeting, considering more strategic issues, as well as international and EU developments.