Our role in tree health
Natural Resources Wales has statutory functions, under the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005, and an important role to play in responding to the recommendations of the UK Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Taskforce.
We also have a key role to play in implementing the Welsh Government's Tree Health Strategy, which aims to preserve the health and vitality of trees and woodlands in Wales by taking proactive measures to reduce the impact of pests and diseases. We act on behalf of Welsh ministers with regard to most operational tree health issues, including surveillance and reporting across Wales. We are also part of the Welsh Government's Tree Health Steering Group.
We work to minimise threats to trees in Wales in many ways:
- We respond to reports of tree health issues from members of the public and forestry professionals
- We undertake surveys to identify trees affected by diseases such as Chalara dieback of ash and P. ramorum disease in larch
- We commission and undertake contingency planning
- We conduct research into pests and diseases
- We proactively look for new pests and diseases and for changes to existing pests and diseases
- We have certain regulatory functions
- We provide training on ways of mitigating damage caused by pests and diseases
- We take action to control outbreaks of pests and disease on the Welsh Government's Woodland Estate and serve statutory notices requiring other landowners to do the same
Working with partners
The pathways by which pests and diseases enter Wales can be complex and outbreaks do not respect national boundaries. Several other organisations have statutory plant health functions and we liaise with these at both Wales and UK levels. We also work with many non-statutory partners to determine the most appropriate responses to tree health issues.
We work with all of these partners to implement the recommendations of the UK Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Taskforce and the Welsh Government's Tree Health Steering Group.
These relationships enable an exchange of information about threats from pests and diseases across the UK and the EU as well as within Wales. By working together, we can better understand the impacts of these threats and develop plans and mechanisms to ensure suitable responses.
The organisations we work closely with include:
- The Welsh Government‘s Land, Nature and Forestry Division
- The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
- The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) (formerly the Food and Environment Research Agency, FERA)
- Forestry Commission Great Britain
- Forest Research
- Citizen science initiatives including Opal, Tree Alert and Observatree
- Environmental organisations, including the Woodland Trust
We also have close links with the forestry and horticultural industries.
The Tree Health team - roles and responsibilities
Our main purpose is to eradicate new quarantined organisms within Wales and minimise the impact of established organisms to Welsh environment. This is done through a mix of regulation, surveillance and education. Our secondary purpose is to monitor and advice on notable non-quarantined organism that are or may affect the Welsh environment.
Tree Health operations manager - Andrew Wright
- Responsible for the financial management for the team in-line with procurement rules
- Board Member for the Observatree Project and Treealert
- NRW Regulatory Representative on the Phytophthora Operational Response Team (PORT)
- Deputise for senior managers on the Welsh [Gov.] Tree and plant Health Steering Group (WTHSG)
- Lead for Regulatory Response to new outbreaks
- Lead contact for Operational/Regulatory liaison with Forest Research and Forestry Commission GB
Tree Health officer - Christina Wilson
- Issuing of Statutory Plant Health Notices (SPHNs) on private woodlands and Public Forest Estate (PFE)
- Maintaining GIS records and responding to related queries for statistics on pest and disease
- Development and planning of field surveillance for pests and pathogens
- Production of monthly reports for Phytophthora ramorum and the Wales Ash Situation Report
- Liaise with landowners on Phytophthora ramorum confirmed sites, non-compliant sites, and compliancy
Tree Health planning officer - Helen John
- Emergency operational response and contingency planning for emerging tree pest and pathogens
- Work with WG to ensure workable WG Contingency plans
- Tree health communications internal and external such as published documents, NRW web pages, Yammer, Twitter
- Co-ordination of training, seminars and workshops on current tree health issues
- Liaising with partners and stakeholders on effective eradication and containment plans
- Observatree project contact
Tree Health surveyor - Sam Milner
- Lead field surveyor for P&D with north Wales
- Planning and undertaking site visits and surveys for Phytophthora ramorum and Chalara dieback of ash (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus)
- and additional surveys as requested by WG
- Collecting samples for laboratory analysis
- Maintaining accurate records of surveys and their findings
- Providing advice on identifying and managing Phytophthora ramorum and Chalara dieback of ash (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus)
Tree Health technical support - Georgia Saxton
- Responding to public enquiries
- GIS, SPHN and Admin support for team
- Primary administrator for tree health procurement
- Monthly reporting (Phytophthora ramorum and Chalara distribution)
- Team champion for the document management system
For more information or to report tree health concerns contact the tree health team at email@example.com.