Dame Helen Mirren has backed the UK’s efforts to keep the deadly plant disease Xylella fastidiosa out of the country by narrating an animation warning of the risks posed by Xylella and offering advice on preventing its arrival.
In the video, which was the brainchild of BRIGIT, a consortium made up of leading universities and research institutes led by the John Innes Centre, Mirren spoke of the devastation caused by the disease, including the death of millions of olive trees across Europe and beyond.
The animation was created to educate the public about the disease, warn of symptoms to watch for, and highlight the risks posed by bringing plants back from abroad.
Mirren, who has witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by Xylella in Italy’s Puglia region, has in the past advised British gardeners to only purchase plants sourced or grown in the U.K.
Although the disease has not yet appeared in the United Kingdom, it has destroyed olive groves in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.
In 2017, the British government called for greater action to prevent the arrival and spread of Xylella.