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Dutch Elm Disease

Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of elms in Great Britain he estimates have been killed by Dutch elm disease; whether the spread of the disease shows any signs of abating; and whether he is satisfied with the present extent of efforts to replace the dead elms with comparable trees.

It is estimated that about 11 million elms have been lost out of a total original population of about 28 million to 30 million. The disease shows no signs of abating. Measures being taken by local authorities in the lightly affected areas are helping to slow down its progress, but there are no known means of eradicating it. Because elms are mainly to be found in hedgerows, replanting is more the concern of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. While recognising that much remains to be done, I understand that he is satisfied with the initiatives being taken by the Countryside Commission, local authorities and private owners in this direction.