Michael Gove launches Government’s first tree health strategy as he praises Ely-based Barcham Trees for their ‘commitment’ to biosecurity
PUBLISHED: 09:24 25 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:24 25 May 2018
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has launched the government’s first tree health strategy following on from his visit to Ely yesterday.
The Conservative politician said it would protect the UK’s trees from being ‘under threat’ from pests and diseases from other countries.
It comes as he praised Ely-based Barcham Trees, in Barway, for being at ‘the cutting edge’ of protecting the environment.
Mr Gove had a tour of the 300-acre site alongside MP for South East Cambridgeshire Lucy Frazer and managing director Mark Glover yesterday afternoon.
Speaking about the new strategy, Mr Gove said: “We are lucky to have so many iconic species which sum up what this country is and symbolise the health and resilience of this environment.
“But that is under threat and there are - as a result of climate change and increasing global trade - new pests and diseases that could find their way on to our shores, so we need to make sure that we have the best protection in place.
“I have come here to Barcham to learn from those who are at the cutting edge to see how we can ensure that we protect our environment in the future.”
While visiting the site he said he was ‘incredibly impressed’ with the nursery’s commitment to protecting against harmful substances via biodiversity.
He also said that ‘more could be done’ in the UK to prevent any outbreaks of the Ash dieback tree disease – which posed a substantial risk to trees across the country when discovered in Norfolk in 2012.
“We need to do is make sure that we learn from nursery’s such as Barcham’s that have a quarantine policy so that we can nip any potential threats from abroad in the bud,” he said.
“And we always need to work with growers and buyers to make sure that we don’t import into this country anything that may have diseases or pests.”
Lucy Frazer MP said there had been ‘significant risks’ in the past, but Barcham had a ‘world class system’ in place.
She added: “It’s great to bring Michael over here because he is doing so much at the minute to protect the environment and to ensure that we have the right strategies.”
Mike Glover, managing director, said: “It is a great honour to have Michael Gove here today and see our nursery which we have been plugging away at growing trees for 30 years so we love to share.”
Mr Gove was set to visit other businesses in and around Ely yesterday.
He last visited the city as Secretary of State for Education - a position he held from 2010 to 2014.