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New quarantine proposals to protect England's trees - defra

Environment Secretary launches first Tree Health Resilience Strategy to protect England’s trees from pests and diseases for generations to come.

woodland (Natural England)(Image: Natural England)

Proposals to consult industry on new quarantine arrangements for high-risk plants are among the measures set out today (Friday 25 May) in the Government’s plan to protect the UK’s precious trees.

Currently quarantine is used by some horticulture businesses as part of strong biosecurity measures against high-risk species. We want to explore how this targeted approach can be broadened out so we have better protection against harmful pests and diseases right across the industry.

Once we leave the EU we will have the chance to tighten biosecurity measures further and take swifter, more targeted action against serious threats like Xylella.

The Tree Health Resilience Strategy, the first major publication to come out of the 25-Year Environment Plan, sets out a new proactive approach to tree health, with landowners, charities, the public and government working together to take actions to build resilience against pests and diseases to protect the nation’s trees – worth an estimated £175billion.

As part of this approach, a new senior cross-industry Plant Health Alliance to strengthen biosecurity practices across industry has been established. The Alliance brings together the country’s leading nurseries, retailers, tree suppliers, landscapers, foresters, the RHS and Defra to ensure an effective response to threats such as Xylella and Emerald Ash Borer.


Tree health resilience strategy 2018 - defra policy paper

This strategy explains how the government will work with others to protect England’s tree population from pest and disease threats.

This strategy sets out plans to reduce the risk of pest and disease threats. It also sets out how we will strengthen the resilience of our trees to withstand threats.

This strategy includes a National Action Plan. The plan sets out what we’re already doing and what we and others will need to do to protect our trees and the important services they provide.

In “our goals”, we’ve summarised what we hope to achieve over the next 5 years.

Access: Tree health resilience strategy: our goals 

Download Tree health resilience strategy report (PDF)


A Blooming Future for Green Angels: Award-winning and free environmental training programme hailed a success in South Yorkshire - The Land Trust

National land management charity the Land Trust, introduced its award-winning, Green Angels, environmental training programme to adults across South Yorkshire in the autumn, giving them the chance to gain practical skills through hands-on learning.  8 trainees joined the Green Angels course in Environmental Education which was delivered by the Land Trust in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).   

The course explores the practicalities of working with children, from lesson planning to risk assessment, and considered environmental education initiatives such as Eco-Schools and Forest School.   All trainees received DBS certificates and a highlight of the course was working outdoors with children from the local primary school, where trainees made their own lunch over a camp fire and crafted tools and Christmas decorations from logs and twigs. 

Since completing the environmental education course many Green Angels trainees have developed their new skills further and are helping with Forest School and family activities with TCV. One trainee has been offered formal training at the local primary school. 

You can read more about the Green Angels programme and its success in Liverpool in this article written by The Land Trust which was published in CJS Focus on Volunteering: Green Angels create magic in Liverpool Park 


Rare eggs hatch after spring flooding rescue - Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

A total of 15 godwit eggs rescued from muddy farmland in East Anglia have hatched successfully so far.

Chicks in brooders (image: WWT)Conservationists, trying to protect the rare black-tailed godwit, teamed up with local farmers to save the eggs, which were found in poor condition due to heavy spring downpours.

Godwit chicks in brooders (image: WWT)

Collecting eggs for rear and release, known as head-starting, was already planned in the area as part of a five-year EU funded project. When flooding forced wild birds to nest away from the safety of their wetland habitat in the Nene Washes, the project team launched a rescue operation to help even more eggs.

Rebecca Lee, Principal Species Conservation Officer at WWT, welcomed the news. She said: “Conditions were so bad that we were concerned that they might not survive. A number of the eggs that we did manage to collect were in such bad condition that they resembled muddy potatoes. Thankfully, the majority of these eggs have shown signs of life and many have hatched successfully despite our reservations. Flooding forced our ground-nesting birds off important nesting areas and they have been laying their eggs on nearby farmland where mud is widespread and tall crops can hide potential predators. Thankfully we have been able to work together with the landowners in the area to avoid the worst outcome.”

A total of 32 eggs were collected from farmland as part of the pioneering nature-conservation scheme Project Godwit – a partnership between WWT and RSPB, which aims to restore the UK breeding population.

Hannah Ward, RSPB Project Manager at Project Godwit, added: “The decision to intervene was not taken lightly. The extreme weather and the dire state of these precious, rare eggs meant they had almost no chance of survival in the wild. Luckily, as our project already includes helping godwits by collecting eggs and head-starting chicks, we were in a position to also help these extra eggs. With less than fifty pairs of godwits breeding in the UK, every egg that successfully hatches could be critical for the future of the population. This was a real team effort and we thank the farmers who worked closely with us to rescue the eggs.”


Scientific Research 

Martín, B., Perez-Bacalu, C., Onrubia, A. et al. Impact of wind farms on soaring bird populations at a migratory bottleneck. Eur J Wildl Res (2018) 64: 33. Doi: /10.1007/s10344-018-1192-z


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