Accommodating APHA’s Plant Health Annual Technical Meeting

We’re proud of our conferencing facilities at York Biotech Campus (YBC), and over the years we’ve held a variety of events for occupiers and external organisations at our Lakeside Conference Centre (LCC).

Earlier this year we hosted the Plant Health Annual Technical Meeting (PHATM) for our occupier the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA). The PHATM is an annual event for the APHA’s Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate (PHSI) which implements and enforces plant health policy in England and Wales.

We caught up with Carol Jackson, the Project Manager for the PHSI’s Technical Extension Team to find out a bit more about this event and their experience organising the PHATM.

A group of people sit on a panel for the Plant Health ATM


Can you tell us a bit about the event?

“The PHATM is an annual three-day event for PHSI staff but we also welcomed other colleagues from APHA and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to attend. This year we also had delegates from the Forestry Commission and Forest Research, representatives from the Welsh Government, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Eire Government and Scottish Government. In total there were 243 in-person attendees and a further 100-150 watching online as we live-streamed the event via YouTube.

“It’s a pretty unique event which sees representatives across the horticulture and forestry sectors gather to hear about the latest government policies, changes in work areas, best practice and to learn about the latest developments in science and technology! It’s a really important training event and counts towards everyone’s continuous personal development, but its also a great opportunity for networking, meeting new people and learning about other roles and organisations in the sector.”

How come you chose to LCC to host the event?

“I’m based at YBC so I’m really familiar with the site, as are many of my colleagues. Although the APHA HQ is in Surrey the conferencing facilities at YBC are much larger, the facilities at the site are also excellent and York is such an easy place to get to.

“This is actually the third time we’ve held the PHATM at the LCC, the first time we had to hold the event online due to Covid restrictions, so we broadcasted the event live from YBC. Last year was a hybrid event with around 120 attendees and this year was a full house – it’s been a real success!”

A crowd of people networking, gathered on the mezzanine of the Lakeside Conference Centre.


How did you find the events team and support at LCC?

“We were extremely well supported, with meetings before we booked to discuss and confirm everything that we needed for the event to run smoothly. We used the main conference room for all three days, as well as breakout rooms for workshops. We also used the atrium as an exhibition space and the mezzanine for all our catering needs.

“There was really good communication from the events team prior, during and after the event which really made the whole process a lot easier. I provided a list of delegates and access, and security was arranged for us. We also had assistance with IT and getting extended WiFi access to help us broadcast the event live. Sandra on reception was so helpful dealing with delegates and all the porters were brilliant in getting everything set up.”

What was the attendee reaction to the event?

“Everyone had an extremely positive response, one delegate said that it was an outstanding conference with exceptional content and speakers, and that the streaming and use of feedback technology made it a really slick experience. We also had feedback that it was brilliantly organised, with plenty of time for breaks and networking which was incredibly valuable.

“All of the delegates we spoke to were very positive about the venue and the facilities. We want to say a huge thank you to Annaleigh, Liz, the catering team, the reception team, and the porters. We’re planning on hosting another event here soon.”

If you’re interested in a venue for your next event or conference, find out more here.