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Phytophthora Ramorum

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many enforcement notices have been issued to destroy trees or shrubs infected by phytophthora ramorum. [130537]

As at 16 September 2003, Enforcement notices have been issued for the destruction of trees and shrubs in respect of 305 confirmed outbreaks of phytophthora ramorum in the United Kingdom.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many inspectors are employed to prevent the import of (a) trees and (b) shrubs infected with phytophthora ramorum. [130609]

76 inspectors from Defra's Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate continue to monitor trees and shrubs imported from other member states or from third countries to ensure they meet import requirements and are not carrying the disease, This work forms part of their other duties including the survey work for this disease and a wide range of activities related to other plant pests and diseases. Similar action is being taken by the devolved Authorities and the Forestry Commission.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of infection by phytophthora ramorum have been identified in national parks. [130615]

Seven cases of infection by phytophthora ramorum have been identified at garden centres and nurseries located within the national parks.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of infection by phytophthora ramorum have been identified in trees or shrubs on Forestry Commission land. [130618]

No cases of infection by phytophthora ramorum have been identified in trees and shrubs on Forestry Commission land.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many laboratory tests have been carried out in the last three months on plant material suspected of being infected with the phytophthora ramorum fungus; and what proportion has proved positive. [130643]

During June, July and August 2003, 2,192 individual laboratory tests have been carried out on samples of plant material suspected of being infected with phytophthora ramorum fungus in the United Kingdom. 11.8 per cent. of these samples were confirmed as being infected with this pathogen.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will place in the Library a list of the (a) parks, (b) gardens and (c) other premises in England in respect of which enforcement notices have been issued to destroy trees or shrubs infected with phytophthora ramorum; [130644](2) if she will take steps to ensure that the public is aware of the identity of the premises of

(a) wholesalers and (b) retailers of plants and shrubs where infections of phytophthora ramorum have been discovered. [130645]

[holding answer 16 September 2003]: The Government believe the public should have as much information as possible about this disease and is happy to meet all reasonable requests for information. However, the information obtained specifically in relation to individual premises, has been gathered in pursuance of the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate's statutory powers and on the basis of this information, where necessary, enforcement notices are issued to ensure compliance. In the absence of a statutory obligation to publish details identifying individual premises, to publish such details without consent could seriously jeopardise our ability to work with business in relation to the reporting and control of phytophthora ramorum.