Biosecurity Boss Visits Yorkshire Arboretum
Prof Alastair Fitter, Dr Helen Crews, Dr Charles Lane, Dr Julie Lane, Dr John Grimshaw, Lord Gardiner, Prof Nicola Spence, Collection Manager Jonathan Burton
Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, visited the Yorkshire Arboretum on Friday 24th May.
Lord Gardiner met with director Dr John Grimshaw, staff, and arboretum trustees including Prof. Nicola Spence, Chief Plant Health Officer and Deputy Director for plant and bee health at Defra.
Following a tour of the grounds, Lord Gardiner was keen to discuss the arboretum’s response to issues surrounding tree health and biosecurity, reviewing plans to build the UK’s first Tree Health Centre, which will be a purpose-built facility to expand public awareness about the threats to our trees posed by an array of pests and diseases. He explained the importance of preserving our national biosecurity and upskilling to protect our trees, and how sites like the Yorkshire Arboretum contribute to raising awareness of these issues to the public, professionals, and volunteers.
Yorkshire Arboretum Director Dr John Grimshaw says: “Our trees are threatened by an unprecedented array of pests and pathogens. Protecting our trees has never been more important – everyone is a stakeholder in tree health, from private householders with a back garden tree to the Highways Agency and councils. All need to know how to maintain healthy trees, or identify and manage those affected by pests and disease. The government has identified a significant skills shortage in the field, and this lack of understanding around biosecurity has contributed to the current crisis. The Tree Health Centre is of vital importance in the promotion of healthy trees for a healthy future.”