Andy Hall, Plant Health Team Manager, Forestry Commission England
As Plant Health Team Manager, I manage the tactical, operational and strategic deployment of the Plant Health team in England. Over the past 18 months, my main responsibility has been to build and develop a new, slightly larger team and to ensure we’re approaching the work required in a clear and focused way, capable of dealing with the challenges presented by a new approach to tree health post-Chalara.
My team are a national team based throughout England, each looking after one of the five Forest Services Areas. They are the people on the ground responsible for monitoring and leading any surveillance work for pests and diseases. They work with land owners and managers, giving latest guidance and advice, and they lead on all matters related to biosecurity.
What I particularly enjoy about my job is the interaction with staff from other agencies – including the new Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Defra colleagues - particularly in terms of a job well done. The biggest challenge I face is trying to ensure people clearly understand what the tree health team do – and, most importantly, why we do it!
I’ve had a variety of roles since I first joined the Forestry Commission in 1976, ranging from wildlife research worker to Regional Director, and now to working with the plant health team.