Scotland's Plant Health Centre - Key principles to minimise plant health risks

Scotland’s plants underpin the health of the nation, but plant pests and diseases can cause major economic, environmental, and social costs. Risks to plant health in Scotland are rising due to increased global movements of plants and soil, coupled with environmental change allowing novel pests and diseases to establish or endemic ones to flourish. We all need to act to address these threats. The following five Key Principles outline important steps to protect plant health in Scotland. We hope you will find them useful when considering your own plant health needs. SOURCE PLANTS WITH CARE Movement of plants is an important pathway for spreading pests and diseases which may hitchhike on plants, in seed, soil and packaging. Taking steps to start with healthy plants is vital. KEEP IT CLEAN Biosecurity best practice can reduce the spread and establishment of plant pests and diseases. These organisms may be microscopic and can easily go unnoticed. PLAN NOW FOR FUTURE CHALLENGES Designing, modifying and managing systems to increase their resilience can reduce the impacts of pests and pathogens in future. This will be multi- facetted and apply to choices over specifications, source, actions on the ground, training and research. EMBED PLANT HEALTH IN POLICIES AND PRACTICES Developing consistent practices, incentives, guidance and regulation can minimise the risk of outbreaks and their consequences. Encouraging best practice at all stages from planning, through procurement to planting will reduce plant health risks. PROMOTE WIDESPREAD UNDERSTANDING AND AWARENESS OF PLANT HEALTH THREATS Informed individuals and businesses can minimise threats to plant health and reduce the unwanted impacts of pests and diseases. Consistent messages across all sectors will help encourage collective and individual actions. Key principles to minimise plant health risks in Scotland