Tree expert part of new Government taskforce

A University of Aberdeen forest pathologist who has commented widely in the media regarding the tree fungal disease causing ash dieback has joined a Government taskforce.

Dr Steve Woodward was asked to sit on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce which will reassess the nature and scale of the risks confronting the health of the UK’s trees and other plants, as well its ability and infrastructure to respond effectively to them.

The Taskforce - which started work yesterday (Tuesday, November 13) - will provide independent expert review of risks and risk management measures to inform a co-ordinated plant health strategy.

It will also complement the work already underway as part of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action Plan.

Dr Woodward will join other experts in plant and tree health; animal health; risk management; ecology, economics and social science.

“The ash dieback problem is by no means the first threat to seriously damage trees in the UK, but it has been a wake-up call to everyone that we must be more vigilant in our efforts to prevent future problems from coming into Europe and the UK, where they can severely damage the environment,” said Dr Woodward.