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Trees: Sudden Oak Death Syndrome

Volume 716: debated on Thursday 14 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have commissioned research to find measures to combat phytophthora ramorum (Sudden Oak Death); and whether they have assessed its practical effect over the next decade. [HL1051]

Defra and the Forestry Commission have funded research into the diseases caused by Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae since 2002 and 2003 respectively. This has included research into managing the pathogens in woodlands, heritage gardens, heathlands and plant nurseries. A policy review and public consultation was held in 2008 on these two pathogens; this was supported by an impact assessment of the policy and management options, and by pest risk analyses. It concluded that increased effort was required to protect woodlands, heathlands, heritage gardens, and nurseries, thereby reducing impacts on the environment and rural economies.

As a result, a new five-year disease management programme was established on 1 April 2009, led by the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera). The programme includes three elements: disease control; awareness and behavioural change; and research. The research (£1,500,000 over five years) will directly support the other elements of the programme, especially disease control. A mid-term review of progress on all elements of the programme will be carried out in 2012 and again in 2014.