The team suggests having a ready-made biosecurity kit for workers to use at home, take in their vehicles and to use on-site. The kits are based on the best-practice biosecurity guidance provided by the Forestry Commission and contain the following key items:
- a hoof pick
- a boot brush
- a spray bottle containing diluted water-based sanitising disinfectant.
Certain sanitising disinfectants are known to be effective against Phytophthora species such as the plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, which is known to cause the disease sudden oak death. The disease kills oaks and other species of trees, and other harmful tree and plant pathogens. Broad-spectrum sanitising disinfectants can also help to reduce the risk of spreading pests and diseases that are harmful to livestock.
If you work on-site, the following simple biosecurity steps could help you and your team prevent spreading harmful organisms:
- Ensure that items brought on-site, from personal protective equipment such as footwear to actual site equipment, are cleaned before site visits by using a hoof pick, a brush, hot water and sanitising spray.
- Check that vehicles are clean and do not have accumulated mud on tyre treads and under wheel arches.
- Keep vehicular access to a minimum and, where possible, park the vehicle on hardstanding.
- Be aware of and, if possible, avoid areas used by livestock or areas known to contain invasive species or disease.
- Be aware of signs of source plants that show signs of ill health and report any suspect trees to the Forestry Commission through Tree Alert.
- Respect notices and instructions on-site.
- Spray the base of footwear with sanitising spray before leaving a site.
- Ensure that footwear and clothing are clean before leaving a site. Put any personal protective or site equipment into a sealed bag and then disinfect them as soon as possible.
- Disinfect disposable field clothes before discarding them.
It is hoped that everyone will adopt these simple precautionary steps on biosecurity.
For more information, please contact Chris Neilson.