It’s indisputable that increasing tree cover is essential for tackling the climate and nature emergencies. We need landscapes rich in native trees and woods to store carbon and provide homes for wildlife. But all our efforts to plant trees and protect those we already have are under increasing threat from pests and diseases. Without action, entire tree populations could be decimated.

127
high risk pests and diseases would have a big impact on UK trees if they arrived in the UK.
1450%
increase in value of tree imports 1992-2019.
£15bn
the economic cost of ash dieback in Britain.

A growing risk

The likelihood of new pests and diseases entering Britain is increasing. A small number of problematic species could potentially blow into the south of England from the continent. But most introductions are a result of the trade of plants, timber and wood products. Tree imports increased 79% between 2016 and 2019 alone. The consequences could be devastating for our woods and wildlife.

1,117,696
oak trees imported into the UK 2013-15
What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity refers to measures that aim to prevent the introduction and/or spread of harmful organisms to plants and animals.

What’s Government’s role?

Government’s new Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain should help to protect our precious environment from these threats. The current consultation is our opportunity to help shape that strategy.

The Government must help reduce the risks posed by new pests and diseases with a clear strategy. We want to see it ensure:

  • high risk host plants are identified, and imports are quarantined or banned quickly to stop pests and diseases entering the wider countryside
  • UK tree nurseries are supported with grants to reduce our reliance on risky imports (funded by a tariff on high-risk imports)
  • an ambitious communications plan is delivered to improve public awareness and help increase the demand for UK grown trees.

Thank you for speaking up

Government consulted on its new strategy in autumn 2021. More than 1,000 people responded to our campaign and asked for a robust new plan on to tackle plant health. Thank you to everyone that took part.

We expect the Government to publish the final strategy in 2022.

Discover why we need healthy tree populations