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Phytophthora Ramorum

Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the rate of (a) Phytophthora ramorum and (b) Phytophthora kernoviae infestations in gardens. (267820)

The Government recently announced the allocation of £25 million to support a five-year programme of work in England and Wales to manage and contain the risks of Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae from spreading further.

In addition to further research and development and an education and awareness programme, we will be looking to reduce the level of disease by removing infected and susceptible plants in woodlands and the wider environment, as well as identifying and controlling any new outbreaks. Experience has shown that the eradication of Rhododendron ponticum (the main host for the diseases) is the most effective control measure to reduce disease spread in the wider environment. At a selected number of woodland sites, the clearance of all rhododendrons, whether infected or not, has proved effective and appears to have prevented further infection of trees on those sites.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on tackling (a) Phytophthora ramorum and (b) Phytophthora kernoviae in the most recent period for which figures are available. (267821)

In addition to DEFRA’s general plant health programme which covers action against a wide range of plant pests and diseases (c. £10 million per annum), an additional £0.75 million was spent in 2008-09 for work to eradicate and control Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae in England and Wales. In this same period, The Forestry Commission spent approximately £0.05 million in combating these diseases in England and Wales.

The Government recently announced the allocation of £25 million to support a five-year programme of work in England and Wales to manage and contain the risks of Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae, from spreading further.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received on diseases caused by (a) Phytophthora ramorum and (b) Phytophthora kernoviae. (267822)

A policy and science review on Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae, including a public consultation, was carried out in 2008 to examine the historic and current situation and propose options for management of the diseases in the future. The consultation in England and Wales on “Future management of risks from Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae” closed on 10 October 2008. A total of 41 responses were received from a range of trade organisations and associations, individual businesses, local councils, owners and managers of historic gardens and government agencies. The review concluded that an increase in the current level of activity was required to reduce the risk of significant tree death and significant impact on heathlands within England and Wales, a view supported by the majority of respondents to the consultation.

The Government recently announced the allocation of £25 million to support a five-year programme of work in England and Wales to manage and contain the risks of Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae, from spreading further.