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Trees (Imports)

Volume 77: debated on Monday 15 April 1985

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on what grounds his Department or others refuse a plant health licence or certificate for the purpose of importing trees or parts of trees from Scandinavia.

The importation of forest grown conifer trees over three metres in height is prohibited because at this size they are potential hosts of harmful organisms which could pose a threat to British tree stock.

A small number of licences are granted by the Forestry Commission to permit entry from October to December of cut "Christmas trees" of this size traditionally gifted from Scandinavia for public display during the festive season. Only exceptionally are licences granted for the import of trees for any other purpose.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will indicate (a) how many Christmas trees were imported into the United Kingdom from Sweden or Norway in 1984, (b) what steps were taken to ensure that such trees were pest free and (c) what size limits and other criteria were used in deciding whether to allow an import to take place.

I have been asked to reply.Thirteen Christmas trees were imported into Great Britain from Norway or Sweden in 1984. These were large trees over 3metres in height traditionally gifted for public display and imported under individual Forestry Commission licences; eachwas accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the plant health authority in the exporting country and was inspected on arrival by a commission plant health inspector. No Christmas trees were imported into Northern Ireland from these countries.