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Contingency planning

Protecting the nation against natural threats (including plant health) and hazards is one of Defra’s top priorities. Under the Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain strengthening protection against plant pests and diseases inland includes a commitment to develop effective contingency plans and clear governance to help eradicate or minimise the impact when outbreaks occur.

The Defra Generic Contingency Plan describes how how the Plant Health Service in England will manage outbreaks of plant pests. In particular, it covers the physical and human resources that are required for an outbreak response and describes the outbreak management process. It is designed primarily for use by staff in Defra, APHA and FC, who are involved in planning for outbreaks of plant pests in England, and for those who are involved in the outbreak response.

Pest specific response plans prepared by Defra and the Forestry Commission describe how the plant health service for England will respond to outbreaks of certain high risk pests where additional measures over and above those set out in the overarching Defra contingency plan for plant health in England are required.

Please see the reporting a pest and disease webpage for the most up-to-date contact details for the UK Plant Health Services.

We are aware that the plant health portal contains hundreds of PDF documents. We are currently reviewing and revising our documents to make them more accessible. If you want a particular document in an accessible format please email plantpestsrisks@defra.gov.uk

Defra Generic Contingency Plan

Plant Health Generic Contingency Plan (England)

Pest specific plant health contingency plans

Anoplophora chinensis - Citrus longhorn beetle

Anoplophora glabripennis - Asian longhorn beetle

Anthonomus eugenii - Pepper weevil

Aromia bungii - Red necked longhorn beetle

Beet curly top virus and its vector Circulifer tenellus in field grown beet crops

Beet curly top virus and its vector Circulifer tenellus in glasshouse grown crops

'Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum' (Zebra chip) & its vector Bactericera cockerelli in glasshouse grown crops

'Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum' (Zebra chip) & its vector Bactericera cockerelli in potato crops

'Candidatus Phytoplasma mali'

Clavibacter sepedonicus - Potato ring rot

Epitrix potato flea beetles

Leptinotarsa decemlineata - Colorado beetle

Meloidogyne chitwoodi

Popillia japonica - Japanese beetle

Potato spindle tuber viroid PSTVd in potato crops

Potato spindle tuber viroid PSTVd in tomato and pepper crops

Rhagoletis pomonella - Apple maggot fly

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus - Red palm weevil

Rose rosette virus (RRV) and its vector Phyllocoptes fructiphilus

Thaumatotibia leucotreta - False codling moth

Thrips palmi - Melon thrips

Tilletia indica - Karnal bunt

Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV)

Xylella fastidiosa

Xylophagous cerambycid beetles

Pest specific tree health contingency plans

Acleris gloverana and Acleris variana (Black-Headed Budworm), Choristoneura fumiferana (Eastern Spruce Budworm) and Choristoneura freemani (Western Spruce Budworm)

Agrilus anxius - Bronze Birch Borer

Agrilus bilineatus - Two-lined chestnut borer

Agrilus planipennis - Emerald Ash Borer 

Bursaphelenchus xylophilus - Pine wood nematode

Candidatus Phytoplasma ulmi - Elm Yellows Phytoplasma

Ceratocystis fagacearum - Oak Wilt

Ceratocystis platani - Canker Stain of Plane

Cryphonectria parasitica - Sweet Chestnut Blight

Dendrolimus sibiricus - Siberian Coniferous Silk Moth

Ips typographus - Eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (under review)

Thaumetopoea pityocampa - Pine Processionary Moth

Thaumetopoea processionea - Oak Processionary Moth


Defra have been partnering with the UK Met Office to help give information about predicted pest emergence dates to aid in outbreak responses. The climate-pest risk web tool, developed by the Met Office Hadley Centre in collaboration with Defra’s plant health risk and horizon scanning team, uses up-to-date climate data and models to estimate and map indicators of risk for important plant pests across the UK. A flyer describing the tool is available here, and the tool can be found here (hosted by the Met Office).