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Trees

Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the health of yew trees in Britain; and what information he has as to how many years' needles a healthy tree of this species should usually be holding.

I have been asked to reply.Like all trees, yew is subject to a range of diseases and disorders. The most noteworthy event in recent years was the browning of foliage which occurred in parts of the country in the spring of 1986, following the very cold February of that year.No systematic study of needle retention has been made. Loss of needles which arc two or more years of age occurs on some trees from time to time, but this has not been linked to any reduction in shoot growth.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his Department's plans for surveying the health of Britain's trees in 1987.

I have been asked to reply.The Forestry Commission's plans for surveys of tree health in 1987, some of which will be carried out in cooperation with other bodies, are described in Forestry Commission Research Information Note 117/87/SSS published on 5 May. I have arranged for copies of the note to be placed in the Library of the House.