The UK’s new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is now officially launched and ready to “play an important role in stopping pests, diseases, and invasive non-native species entering the UK”.
“Bringing together animal and plant health inspection functions in the new agency makes very good sense,” said the Environment Minister, Lord de Mauley. “It will enable joined up working on plant and animal diseases and pests, and will increase our resilience and flexibility to respond to emergencies.”
APHA, which opened its doors for the first time on October 1, combines the former activities of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) with four functions of the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), namely the Bee inspectorate, the Plants Health and Seeds Inspectorate, the Plant Variety and Seeds Group and the GM Inspectorate.
Headed by Chris Hadkiss, formerly the chief executive of AHVLA, the new agency will continue to operate from the former AHVLA network of field offices, investigation centres, laboratories and border inspection posts at ports and airports. Public contact telephone numbers and helplines also remain the same.