Talking pests and diseases

Talking pests and diseases

The RHS John MacLeod Annual Lecture is held every autumn and provides a platform for key horticultural issues

An audience of RHS members, scientists, policymakers and the media is invited each year to hear luminaries of the scientific world speak on major research projects or new areas of thought.

This year’s lecture, by Professor Nicola Spence, offered an overview of how scientists are working to protect the UK from plant pests and diseases. Professor Spence is DEFRA’s Chief Plant Health Officer and an expert in plant health and international plant trade.

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Globalisation of travel and trade, and demands for a greater variety of plant species, mean that threats are ever-present, she says, but in the UK we have earned a global reputation for the highest standards of biosecurity for plants and trees. Alongside world-leading science and research, we have developed enhanced standards of protection, surveillance and inspection. However, the threat level is constantly evolving, and we must take further action to keep pace with potential threats such as Xylella and emerald ash borer. Her key message is that we all have a part to play in limiting the spread of pests and diseases, through simple actions when travelling, buying plants, or visiting our woodlands and parks.

Listen to Professor Spence’s lecture at

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Steve Ott
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