‘This will help to control and eradicate animal and plant diseases and pests whilst reducing the risks from new and emerging threats.’
The UK Government is investing £200 million at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratories in Weybridge, Surrey, UK, to enhance its scientific and veterinary capability.
The investment, which is part of a £1.2 billion funding package in the Science Capability in Animal Health programme, announced during March 2020, will be used to revamp the laboratories with new equipment and specialist testing facilities. This will mean that the laboratory’s scientists can identify pathogens for existing and emerging threats posed by diseases spread by animals, and maintain the UK’s biosecurity standards against Bovine TB, Salmonella and avian flu.
It was noted that alongside these existing threats, the UK also had to be prepared for future risks from animal diseases which could pose a significant risk to UK farming and wildlife. The Government said that the investment would offer APHA ‘greater capacity to track diseases of concern across the globe and conduct research into a growing number of high-risk threats in advanced high-containment laboratories.’ The Government also said that the investment would enhance the UK’s international reputation as a safe agri-food trading partner.
Commenting, Ian Hewett, APHA Chief Executive said: ‘The investment confirmed today will also enhance the capacity if the site to allow scientists to manage concurrent outbreaks and conduct research in parallel. This will help to control and eradicate animal and plant diseases and pests whilst reducing the risks from new and emerging threats.’