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Millions invested into UK biosecurity to tackle pests and pathogens

by | 13 May 24 | Nature & Biodiversity, News | 0 comments

The battle against tree-disease spreading pests and pathogens has ramped up with millions in additional government funding, in an effort to improve UK biosecurity and protect the nation’s trees.

£4 million in funding will go towards the development of a new research and containment facility at the UK’s Forest Research Alice Holt Research Station in Surrey and will aid in managing the risks posed by the likes of the Emerald ash borer and the larger eight-toothed spruce bark beetle.

The new facility will expand the capacity of the existing Holt containment laboratory by almost double, boosting the capability to study pests and pathogens in a contained and controlled environment.

Statistics released by Forest Research show there were 2350 tree pests and diseases reported via the TreeAlter service from April 2023 – March 2024.

Biosecurity minister, Lord Douglas-Miller comments on the importance of protecting the nation’s treescapes, saying: “We are committed to protecting the country’s tree health and maintaining biosecurity to ensure our trees and woodlands are resilient to fight climate change.”

Defra chief plant health officer Professor Nicola Spence goes on to add that tackling the pests and diseases threatening the UK’s trees and plants is a key part of the Defra’s Plant Biosecurity Strategy.

The government targets to increase tree canopy and woodland cover in England to at least 16.5% by 2050, in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.

To find out more about the Forest Research’s Holt Laboratory, visit

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