A total of 29 organisations, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the National Farmers' Union (NFU), the Tree Council and the Royal Horticultural Society, have agreed to sign the newly announced Public Engagement in Plant Health Accord.

The agreement, which was announced today (Monday, May 23) at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, sees organisations commit to improving public engagement with plant health and biosecurity.

The joint campaign will encourage plant lovers not to bring home plants, trees, fruit and seeds from overseas, as doing so could inadvertently bring pests, diseases and invasive species into the UK.

Pests and pathogens can cause serious damage and long-lasting harm to biodiversity, farmland, ecosystems and native species.

This will run alongside an awareness campaign which will aim to educate the public to buy plants, trees and seeds from responsible suppliers, and ensure everyone knows how to report sightings of pests and diseases.

“This accord will change the face of plant biosecurity in this country, with leading organisations from across society setting out a long-term shared vision for public engagement, awareness raising and behavioural change," said Lord Benyon, Minister for Biosecurity.

The signatories of the Public Engagement in Plant Health Accord will work together to:

  • Help people to understand the origin of the plants, trees and seeds they buy, as well as the plant health practices and credentials of vendors/suppliers;
  • Reduce the risk of international travels bringing home plants, trees, fruit and seeds from overseas; 
  • Communicate how everyone’s actions can facilitate the movement of pests and diseases;  
  • Ensure everyone knows how to report sightings of pests and diseases that are threatening the health of our plants and trees.