Sudden Oak Death Virus

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 6th January 2004.

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Photo of Baroness Cumberlege Baroness Cumberlege Conservative 2:30 pm, 6th January 2004

My Lords, I should like to thank the Minister for that reply. I understand what he is telling us about destroying plants that already have the disease or fungus. However, does he agree that, if the fungus gets hold and proves as devastating as Dutch elm disease, this Government will never be forgiven? Will the Minister please take action and ban imports immediately, as other European countries did when we were exporting our beef? Not all the research into BSE had been undertaken, but a ban was introduced.

We must stop the disease getting into the country. Will the Minister introduce a ban immediately so that we can save our beeches, horse chestnuts, holm oaks, red oaks, yews, rhododendrons and azaleas?