The funding will help to strengthen the UK economy by protecting against the threat of animal and human disease risks
UK’s The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has secured ₤1.4bn for the
redevelopment of the current Weybridge facility to protect against the growing threats of animal and plant diseases.
The funding was announced by the Chancellor in the Budget on 11 March. The money
will ensure that the UK will continue to be a world-leading science and safeguard the
agency’s role in fighting current and emerging plant and animal diseases.
The investment will help the UK economy by protection against animal and human
disease risks. At present, the country exports ₤4.2bn livestock, meat and meat
products, dairy and animal by-products per year.
The investment is also expected to attract scientists and technical experts, making it an
APHA CEO Chris Hadkiss said: “This is fantastic news for everyone at APHA and the
wider Defra group as this gives the financial investment to ensure we can continue to
enhance our crucial and valuable role in animal health science and in providing our
emergency response to disease outbreaks.
“The financial commitment also highlights how the government recognises our
international reputation as experts in animal and plant health science and the critical
role we have in protecting the UK and the economy from animal disease risk.”
The APHA has the responsibility of safeguarding animal and plant health for the benefit
of the people, the environment and the economy.
APHA is presently working on coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
In the past, the agency offered scientific evidence and advice to the government in
controlling outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001, tested several thousand
samples of Avian Influenza (bird flu) during its outbreak in the winter of 2016/17 and
recent research that paved the way for field trials of a cattle vaccine to combat bovine
Presently, the agency is supporting Public Health England (PHE) in the government’s
response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.