Biosecurity Programme Board

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

In response the Forestry Commission, with private-sector support, has set up a Biosecurity Programme that aims 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 across the Forestry Commission, Forest Research and the forestry and wood-using sectors. 

Terms of Reference (as adopted on 27 November 2009)


The Biosecurity Programme Board will oversee delivery of the Plant Health Strategy.  It will provide a strategic overview of the Forestry Commission’s approach to plant health and biosecurity, to assist it in meeting its 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.”

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

The Board will have both an executive and advisory role.

In its executive role, the Board will be responsible for:

  • determining and understanding the impacts on forestry, trees, woodland and associated industries;
  • co-ordinating and harmonising measures taken by other UK Plant Health administrations and the Forestry Commission;
  • proposing policy recommendations to address emerging issues; and
  • Recommending the establishment of new working groups to address specific plant health issues.

In its advisory role, the Board will be responsible for:

  • Providing advice on research programmes and associated projects on aspects of the detection, identification, biology, management and understanding of relevant pests; 
  • Advising the Research Strategy Management Board in determining research priorities to support bidding for resources through the research commissioning process.
  • Raising the profile, awareness, and understanding of plant health controls and tree health issues amongst all stakeholders, including the general public;
  • Governance and links

The Board will:

  • Report to FC GB Executive Board through Head of Corporate and Forestry Support, who will brief Commissioners and Ministers as appropriate;
  • Receive reports from 

    -   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 Programme Board will:

  • Discuss developments, especially new or changing pests;
  • Provide feedback to interested stakeholders, both internal and external;
  • Commission  studies, pest risk assessments, as necessary;
  • Monitor progress of research projects;
  • Work through members’ parent bodies to provide support and resources.

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

The Board will meet twice a year in September and February, to align with the forest research purchasing process, or more frequently if events so determine.


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 at the meetings.

Information Paper

Biosecurity Programme Board Minutes










Last updated: 03/05/2014