I am delighted to announce the publication of the Scottish Plant Health Strategy. I very much recognise that plant health is at the heart of Scotland's thriving natural environment, our rural economy and our wellbeing. However there are increasing pest and disease threats to our plant health, particularly through increased globalisation of trade and other factors such as climate change. It is therefore timely for Scotland to publish and implement this Strategy.
The aim of the Strategy is to safeguard agriculture, horticulture, forestry and the wider environment from plant pests over the next five years, and beyond. This will require an integrated approach, to ensure effective collaboration between all interested parties.
The Strategy builds upon the work already undertaken by the Scottish Plant Health Service, but recognises that Government alone cannot tackle current and future plant health challenges. The Strategy therefore has a focus on working in partnership with others to build and strengthen relationships. It sets out how together we can protect crops, trees and other plants from new and existing pests and diseases.
Scottish plant health concerns and priorities will be at the heart of our Strategy but of course plant pests do not respect borders. This is recognised in the Strategy which builds on the plans set out in the GB Plant Biosecurity Strategy published in 2014. It also covers our EU and International plant health ambitions and commitments.
I am grateful to the wide range of stakeholders that have contributed to the development of the Scottish Plant Health Strategy. The partnerships that have been formed during this activity and those that will form as a result of delivering the Strategy will have long term benefits for plant health in Scotland.
Dr Aileen McLeod
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform