asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what contingency plans his Department is making to seek to contain any outbreaks of oak wilt in the event of the disease spreading to the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
The Forestry Commission has drawn up contingency plans, after consultations with local authorities. If the disease did appear in Great Britain, the commission would take swift action to contain it through its powers under the Tree Pests (Great Britain) Order 1980.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether there is any evidence of oak wilt spreading from the United States of America to the United Kingdom.
There is no evidence of oak wilt spreading from the United States to the United Kingdom, or indeed to any other country. I understand that the disease is quiescent in most parts of the United States, and at a very low level in the timber-producing forests.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what liaison is taking place between his Department and the appropriate authorities in the United States of America on the question of oak wilt.
Forestry Commission representatives are in close contact with United States plant health officials, mainly through the EC Standing Committee on Plant Health. Two Forestry Commission officials participated in an EC fact-finding visit to the USA earlier this year and a Forestry Commission scientist is the coordinator of an EC expert group on the disease.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what effective measures his Department is aware of for controlling the fungus responsible for oak wilt.
A variety of measures has proved effective in the United States, depending on the degree of control required. These include the destruction of all diseased material by felling and burning, the isolation of infected trees by root-trenching and the selective use of fungicides and insecticides.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what machinery exists to examine imported oak from the United States of America at ports of entry into the United Kingdom for signs of oak wilt.
Oak imports from north America are subject to inspection at ports of entry by Forestry Commission plant health inspectors.