EU bio security strengthened after MEPs pass Conservative MEP’s report
Bio security across the EU will be strengthened after a report by Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre was approved today by the European Parliament.
The new legislation introduces responsive measures to prevent the entry of new plant pests and diseases into the EU and rapidly contain the spread of any outbreaks.
Annual surveys will check for the presence of so called quarantine pests; a list of Priority Pests is to be established; and the use of plant passports, which cover the movement of plants within the EU, is being extended and harmonised.
Miss McIntyre said: “I am delighted this important piece of legislation has been adopted after years of negotiations.
“We need only to look at the devastation caused by diseases such as ash dieback in Britain and xyella fastidiosa, which affected 30,000 hectares of Italian olive groves, to understand why more effective measures are necessary. Ash dieback was first confirmed in the UK in 2012 and has spread so rapidly that it is estimated it could affect 80 million ash trees.
“Currently the detection of outbreaks in some countries is weak due to a lack of surveillance and I am proud this will now be addressed. As a continent we are only as strong as the weakest link.
“At the same time we have struck a balance between not overburdening growers and facilitating the growth of horticulture trade while protecting against pests and diseases as increased volumes of trade, travel and climate change bring with them new threats.”
The legislation introduces preliminary tests for high risk plants imported from outside the EU. If these suggest an unacceptable risk, a provisional ban will be introduced pending a full assessment.