Michael Gove launches tree health strategy after visiting Ely-based Barcham Trees nursery
PUBLISHED: 14:01 25 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:01 25 May 2018
Environment secretary Michael Gove launched the government’s first tree health strategy after visiting a nursery in Ely which he said is at “the cutting edge” of environmental protection.
The minister said Defra’s strategy would protect the UK’s trees from being “under threat” from pests and diseases from other countries.
His announcement followed a tour of the 300-acre site at Barcham Trees, in Barway, near Ely, which he visited alongside South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer and managing director Mark Glover.
“We are lucky to have so many iconic species which sum up what this country is and symbolise the health and resilience of this environment,” said Mr Gove.
“But that is under threat and there are – as a result of climate change and increasing global trade – new pests and diseases that could find their way on to our shores, so we need to make sure that we have the best protection in place.
“I have come here to Barcham to learn from those who are at the cutting edge to see how we can ensure that we protect our environment in the future.”
While visiting the site he said he was “incredibly impressed” with the nursery’s commitment to protecting against harmful substances via biosecurity.
He also said “more could be done” in the UK to prevent further outbreaks of the ash dieback tree disease – which posed a substantial risk to trees across the country after it was first discovered in the wild in Norfolk in 2012.
“We need to do is make sure that we learn from nurseries such as Barcham’s that have a quarantine policy so that we can nip any potential threats from abroad in the bud,” he said.
“And we always need to work with growers and buyers to make sure that we don’t import into this country anything that may have diseases or pests.”
MP Lucy Frazer said there had been “significant risks” in the past, but Barcham had a “world class system” in place.
She added: “It’s great to bring Michael over here because he is doing so much at the minute to protect the environment and to ensure that we have the right strategies.”
Mike Glover, managing director, said: “It is a great honour to have Michael Gove here today and see our nursery which we have been plugging away at growing trees for 30 years so we love to share.”
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