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Following negotiation by Anthea Mcintyre (UK MEP) to set out measures to tackle plant diseases, last week saw legislation approval by the European Parliament in order to help protect crops, woodland and the countryside from devastating plant pathogens.

As mentioned on Anthea Mcintyre’s website the legislation is designed to combat plant diseases by using a regulatory regime that doesn’t overburden farmers, foresters or the horticulture trade.

What are the measures?

The UK has had its fair share of problems with plant diseases, notable ones being Phytophthora ramourum and Ash Dieback, as well as various potato diseases. The new legislation will give clear guidelines across Europe on what is expected to help prevent the spread of plant diseases across borders, with the hope of maintaining crop and plant quality suitable for the marketplace. Here are some of measures:

  • Compulsory general surveillance by EU Member States for plant pests and diseases.
  • Harmonisation of the plant passport system.
  • The introduction of preliminary assessments for plants imported from outside the EU which are likely to pose a risk.
  • Powers enabling the Commission to quickly impose a temporary ban or restrict the movement of plants or products found to pose previously undetected risks

Is this legislation enough to stop the spread of plant diseases?

Plant pathogens have always been a problem for farmers, horticulturists and foresters alike. Since Phytophthora ramorum was discovered in South West England in 2009 the UK authorities’ have had a battle on their hands to try and prevent the spread and reduce the affects of this plant destroyer.

Although, plants and crops may never be resistant to disease, and plant diseases may never be eradicated. The measures go a long way to ensuring there is an accepted, understood and Europe-wide approach to protecting crops and plants from disease, thus helping to safeguard income for growers and those in the supply chain.

Early detection is important

Pocket Diagnostic® sees early detection during surveillance of the plant diseases forming an important part of protecting crops, plants and trees. The legislation has a focus on preventing the spread across international borders. But, surveillance and early infield detection will play an important role in helping to maintain yield and keeping disease contained within a farm, nursery or woodland.

However, regular surveillance for disease during the life cycle of the plant or crop up until it reaches the end user is a welcome approach to making sure countries can supply the best possible produce.

Pocket Diagnostic® supply a range of infield plant pathogen detection kits. For information about our products please contact us on or +44 (0) 1904 406050.

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