asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to ensure that the disease known as apple proliferation does not become established in the United Kingdom.
I am advised that it is most unlikely that this disease could become established in our climatic conditions, but we have nevertheless no intention of relaxing our requirement that trees of orchard varieties imported from countries in which apple proliferation occurs must come from nurseries inspected and found free from the disease.
Will the Minister recognise that there are a number of diseases, such as white rust, sharker and fire blight, that have become endemic in this country over the past few years? Is he aware that the apple industry is very concerned that apple proliferation could become established? Will he work towards developing a Community solution of preventative controls in respect of this problem?
I gather that this disease is more of a problem in Southern and Eastern Europe than, for example, in Northern Europe. In parts of Germany there has been no difficulty in wiping out the disease. I assure the hon. Gentleman, however, that we intend to maintain the maximum vigilance in respect of this and all other disease threats from the Continent.