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Biosecurity Programme Board

Climate change and the expansion of international trade are likely to increase the threat posed to Britain's woodlands by pests and diseases.

The Forestry Commission, with private-sector support, has a Biosecurity Programme to "preserve the health and vitality of our forests, trees and woodlands through strategies which exclude, detect, and respond to existing and new pests and pathogens of trees, whether of native or exotic origin."

The Programme is directed by the Biosecurity Programme Board, which includes representatives from the Forestry Commission, Forest Research and the forestry and wood-using sectors. 

Terms of Reference

The Biosecurity Programme Board oversees imlementation of the Plant Health Strategy.  It provides a strategic overview of the Forestry Commission’s approach to plant health and biosecurity. This assists us in meeting our objective to preserve the health and vitality of our forests, trees and woodlands through strategies which exclude, detect, and respond to, existing and new pests and pathogens of trees, whether of native or exotic origin.

The board considers all aspects of tree health in both the urban and rural environment.  It does not consider tree health issues affecting fruit or exotic ornamental species as these do not fall within the Forestry Commission’s remit.

The Board has both an executive and advisory role.

In its executive role, it:

  • determines and improves our understanding of the impacts on forestry, trees, woodland and associated industries

  • co-ordinates and harmonises measures taken by us and other UK Plant Health administrations

  • proposes policy recommendations to address emerging issues

  • recommends the establishment of new working groups to address specific plant health issues

In its advisory role it:

  • provides advice on research programmes and associated projects on aspects of the detection, identification, biology, management and understanding of relevant pests 

  • advises the Research Strategy Management Board in determining research priorities to support bidding for resources through the research commissioning process

  • raises the profile, awareness, and understanding of plant health controls and tree health issues amongst all stakeholders, including the general public

  • is responsible for governance and links

The Board:

  • reports to the Forestry Commission Executive Board through its Head of Corporate and Forestry Support, who briefs Commissioners and Ministers as appropriate

  • receives reports from the Head of Plant Health; Forestry and Climate Change Centre, Forest Research, and working groups established to address specific plant health issues, e.g. Red Band Needle Blight

Method of working

 The Board:

  • discusses developments, especially new or changing pests

  • provides feedback to interested stakeholders, both internal and external

  • commissions studies and pest risk assessments, as necessary

  • monitors progress of research projects

  • works through members’ parent bodies to provide support and resources

The Board may call on internal and external experts to attend to discuss subjects in their area of competence.


Roger Coppock , Forestry Commission, Corporate and Forestry Support (CFS), (Chair)

Dr John Morgan, Forestry Commission, CFS, Head of the Plant Health Service

Hugh Clayden, Forestry Commission Scotland

Richard Siddons, Forestry Commission Wales

Laura Jones, Forestry Commission England

Dr Joan Webber, Forest Research

Chris Inglis (ConFor)

David Sulman (UKFPA)

John Dye (TIMCON)

Nick Boulton (TTF)

John Heuch (Arboricultural Association)

The Northern Ireland Forest Service has observer status.

Information Paper

Meeting Minutes

30/4/13 (Last meeting)




Last updated: 30th September 2015