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Forests: Disease Control

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps he has taken to reduce the spread of pests and diseases of woodland trees. (305626)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: The Forestry Commission, through its Forest Research Agency, is carrying out research into a number of pests and diseases of trees including, more recently, increased investigation into Acute Oak Decline. It is also continuing collaborative research into a better understanding of the diseases caused by Phytophthora ramorum and P. kernoviae as part of the five-year programme announced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Jane Kennedy) on 3 March 2009.

The Forestry Commission has also recently set up a Biosecurity Programme Board with representation from key partners in the forest industry sector. The board will advise the Forestry Commissioners on how best to deliver a programme of protecting trees and woodlands against pests and diseases. This will be set out in a new Plant Health Strategy the Commission is helping to develop which it intends to publish in 2010.