About the Biosecurity Group

The Biosecurity working group was established by Roger Kent FLI and Colin Moore CMLI in June 2012 in response to concerns about Ash Dieback.

Ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea) hit the headlines in 2012 and over time the disease is expected to lead to the loss of most of our ash trees and significant alterations to the landscape character of many areas.

Chalara is, however, only one of a rapidly growing number pest and diseases threatening the urban and rural landscapes of the British Isles. Early government policy development has been heavily focussed on forestry and woodlands, both in terms of the threats to production and the impacts on ecology.

One of the key roles of the Biosecurity group is to ensure that impacts on non-woodland, hedgerow, urban and peri-urban trees are properly considered and that the visual, amenity, cultural and social (health and well-being) importance of trees and other plants is understood and taken into account in policy development.

We aim to
• increase awareness of current and anticipated pest and disease threats pertinent to landscape practice
• provide an information resource for members, with advice, updates and links
• represent the LI on working groups liaising in particular with the Forestry Commission, Defra and the Tree Council
• raise the profile of urban and peri-urban trees/forestry and increase awareness of their importance
• promote seminars and CPD for landscape architects on ash dieback and other biosecurity issues.
• formulate a long-term strategy, covering both the response to Ash Dieback and other biosecurity threats.
• liaise with the wider landscape industry and the devolved nations

The LI Biosecurity Sub Group is represented as Stakeholder Members on the DEFRA Tree Health Policy Group. The Tree Health Policy Group has been established to provide advice and recommendations to the Government via the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on matters concerned with developing strategic responses to outbreaks of tree pests and pathogens establishing, or at risk of establishing in England. Other stakeholder members comprise: Woodland Trust, National Trust, Tree Council, Confor, CLA and Horticultural Trades Association. There are eight members from Government Departments comprising Natural England, FERA, Forestry Commission, Forest Research, CPHO and Plant Policy DEFRA.

The LI Biosecurity Sub Group is particularly focusing on better defined non woodland tree category, and issues around Visual Impact Appraisal, aesthetics and sequential tree species replacement.