FORESTRY England has been recognised for its commitment to plant health and biosecurity.

The body said it was "delighted" to have been awarded 'Plant Healthy' certification by Grown in Britain (GIB), one of the certification bodies on the scheme.

Forestry England's strict standards of plant health and biosecurity aim to ensure that the 18 million trees it grows each year are the best they can be.

Developments such as the one-hectare glasshouse at Delamere Forest have enabled Forestry England to lead the way in modern production methods for forestry seedlings. The facility grows a diverse range of tree species, with the goal of ensuring the long-term resilience and sustainability of the nation’s forests.

Chris Hardy, head of plant and seed supply, Forestry England said: “Forestry England have a key role to play in the battle against tree pests and diseases, and the importance of the actions taken by the nation’s forests have never been greater.

“It is crucial that we move towards improved plant health measures for our woodlands. The single most important step we can take is to ensure the biosecurity and traceability of planting stock.”

The Plant Healthy Certification standard helps to protect and prevent outbreaks of pests and diseases in the nation's new and existing forests.

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Forestry England has been a consistent and long-term partner in the development of more biosecure supply chains and has worked with Grown in Britain to support the development of the Plant Healthy Scheme with a range of partners.

Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain, said: “After several years of work behind the scenes, we are proud to be a certification body for the Plant Healthy scheme. A wide range of partners have been involved in this project, including Forestry England, who have shown consistent and knowledgeable leadership coupled with excellent technical support throughout. We would not be where we are without the support of Forest England and their determination to build more biosecure supplies for everyone.”

Dougal added: “Forest England opened up their facilities to help GIB and our auditors assess the risks and opportunities in nursery production and they have continuously helped us learn in order to develop a robust certification scheme for all.”

Recent research has shown that tree seeds are an important pathway for the spread of plant pathogens. Forestry England said it will work to ensure that the principles of the Plant Healthy scheme are in implemented across their entire supply chain, and improving the level of biosecurity for the seed it processes and procures is a key area it will focus on in the future.

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