Ash Dieback Disease

Part of Opposition Day — [9th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 6:11 pm on 12th November 2012.

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Photo of George Freeman George Freeman Conservative, Mid Norfolk 6:11 pm, 12th November 2012

My hon. Friend makes an extremely good point based on the evidence in her own constituency, which also sits at the heart of the East Anglian cluster. She allows me to draw attention to the map, which is extremely compelling. It shows that 90% of all incidences of the disease are down the east coast, and most of those are on the bit of the east coast that is closest to Europe and that is affected by the prevailing winds from the east.

I am quite pessimistic about the long-term prospect of our controlling and stopping the disease, but there is a glimmer of optimism in the science of resistance, and it is to that subject that I shall now turn. There are signs that some of our older ash trees might have developed a resistance to the disease, and we now have an opportunity to show scientific leadership by throwing as much resource as possible into identifying a solution.