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Future Proofing Plant Health - PH0441

Description
The UK Plant Health service needs to proof itself against future challenges. These include major global challenges from increasing world trade and climate change. Alongside these there are a number of drivers forcing change across agriculture, horticulture and the wider environment (both natural and managed). These include regulatory, social and economic drivers. These changes will lead to the creation of new threats, for example, by changes in pest distribution, the introduction of novel crops and cropping patterns and the loss of key chemical control products. Plant Health also needs to be set against the need for ‘sustainable intensification’; ensuring national food security and increased production, but that this is done sustainably. It will of course also have to work within a climate where demonstrating excellent value for money is essential; ensuring that it operates within a framework of reducing costs and increasing the benefits. As a result the service will need to adapt in the coming years, evolving over the next 5-10 years to meet the threats and challenges, in order to achieve the following outcomes:
• Enhanced national biosecurity: fewer outbreaks, better eradication and containment.
• Better stakeholder engagement: a strong partnership between government, industry and other stakeholders ensuring not only coherent policy but also delivery.
• Excellent value for money: improved cost-benefit ratios delivering ultimately more for less (often through more for the same and the same for less)

To achieve these outcomes, an actively-targeted programme of R&D is required that will create the required capability within the UK. This R&D effort can be categorized under three themes that align with the key priorities of the Plant Health service:
1. Understanding the risks (‘Think’)
2. Enhancing surveillance (‘Find’)
3. Deploying effective control (‘Act’)

Within this is the need to develop critical expertise, new technology and tools, and their effective transfer to policy, science and inspectorate end-users as well, in some cases, stakeholders. This effort will be focused on five cross-cutting, priority areas:
1. Improved methods for identifying and preparing for new threats including the utilisation of horizon scanning, novel risk analysis and new diagnostic approaches
2. Better tools to aid detection in the field
3. Improved early detection through the development of remote surveillance and monitoring networks
4. The integration of social science and modelling into Plant Health
5. Evaluation and deployment of novel control approaches
Objective
Aims:
Given the background outlined above, the UK Plant Health service needs to proof itself against future challenges and take advantage of new technological and societal opportunities. In short this will mean:
• Creating a service that is flexible enough to deal with new and potentially unknown threats, while maintaining its ability to deliver its ongoing statutory commitments.
• It will need to develop more generic tools and approaches that can be rapidly customized using pest-specific evidence; avoiding the need to develop from-scratch, bespoke solutions for each new pest as it arrives.
• The service will need to be to be ‘lean’; looking for continuous improvement opportunities to strip out process steps which cause delays/incur costs or by utilizing alternative delivery paths.
• It will also need to be ruthlessly focused on prioritization; only deploying resources based on risk and targeting them effectively to achieve maximum impact.

Outcomes
If all these aims could be achieved, then successful outcomes would follow. These can be summarized into three broad categories:
• Enhanced national biosecurity: fewer outbreaks, better eradication and containment.
• Better stakeholder engagement: a strong partnership between government, industry and other stakeholders ensuring not only coherent policy but also delivery.
• Excellent value for money: improved cost-benefit ratios delivering ultimately more for less (often through more for the same and the same for less)

Key objectives:
From the analysis of R&D gaps and the long-term aims, it is possible to distil out a number of science priority objectives that would help to address these, cutting across the three major themes identified before:
1. Improved methods for identifying and preparing for new threats including the utilization of horizon scanning, novel risk analysis and new diagnostic approaches
2. Better tools and approaches to aid detection in the field
3. Improved early detection through the development of remote surveillance and monitoring networks
4. The integration of social science and modelling into plant health
5. Evaluation and deployment of novel control approaches

For the specific evidence objectives, details are provided in the specific work packages (Appendix 1 of EVID2)

In addition to cross-cutting across the three research themes defined by ‘Think-Find-Act’, the five key objectives also support the critical need for both better cost : benefit and continuous improvement; the two common delivery themes that underpin many areas of work within this project.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2015

Cost: £1,149,708
Contractor / Funded Organisations
F E R A (FERA)
Keywords
Plant health              
Plant Pests and Diseases              
Fields of Study
Plant Health