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The Plant Health Professional Register was originally created in response to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Government Office of Science reports1,2 recommending development of plant health skills and creating opportunities for a wider community of trained plant health professionals. The register is based upon a competency framework that aligns with the current Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain, as well as industry-led standards and assurance schemes.

Defra is working with professional bodies to embed greater awareness of plant health as a key competency and component of continuous professional development. The register was created in 2016 for government inspectors and related officials, enhancing their official training programme to provide a better and more professional service. Since piloting the register with government inspectors, the scheme has expanded to include members from; government, industry, academic and third-sector backgrounds. 

Development of the register was funded by Defra with assistance from the York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership. Standards are overseen by an advisory group3 comprising representatives from Plant Health agencies from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Forestry Commission, a representative from the horticulture sector and the Royal Society of Biology.

In addition to the register, the RSB is delivering a series of initiatives in plant health, including an event series. You can find out more about these events and projects on this webpage.

 For more information, please contact the team at

1 Defra/GoS (Dec 2014) Animal and Plant Health in the UK: Building our science capability
Defra (April 2014) Protecting Plant Health-a Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain

2 A Vision and high- level Strategy for UK Animal and Plant Health Research To 2020 and Beyond

3 Plant Health Professional Register Advisory group

Nicola Spence (Defra Chief Plant Health Officer)
Charles Lane (Fera Science Ltd)
Ahmed Hameed (APHA - England)
Nicola Cummings (DAERA – Northern Ireland)
Nia Meddins (Welsh Government)
Alan MacLeod (Defra)
Denise A’Hara (SASA)
Tim Edwards (Boningale Nurseries Ltd.)         
Maureen Wakefield (Fera Science Ltd.)
Gerry Saddler (SASA Chief Plant Health Officer - Scotland)
Katie Parker (Forestry Commission)

Plant Health Register - Costs

  • Registration application fee - £30
  • Annual renewal fee - £30

Registrants are also required to join and maintain membership of the RSB as an Affiliate, Associate, Member or Fellow. Details on how to join and associated costs are found here


Plant Healthy Training Modules

Plant Healthy have developed a series of Plant Health and Biosecurity training modules which are now publicly available on their website. The 5 modules were developed with funding provided by Defra, and serve as an introduction to anyone interested in plant health and biosecurity. The modules have been written in line with the requirements of the Plant Health Professionals Register, and can support an application for Associate level.


Guidance for applicants

To start your application visit our members area mySociety.

Please note, the guidance document below was updated on 4th May 2023, so if you began preparing your application prior to this, please check your application against the new guidance prior to submission.

Download our full guidance document for support on your application, and answers to frequently asked questions.

View our online leaflet for key facts. If you would like a physical copy of this leaflet for your workplace to encourage colleagues to join the register, please contact 

If you have questions about how to apply of the application process, please contact us at .

The Royal Society of Biology is committed to ensuring equal opportunities in the life sciences, and supports diversity throughout the pipeline; at school and higher education, in the workplace and training.