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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures her Department has taken in response to infestations of trees and woodlands; what measures have been taken in relation to outbreaks of oak processionary moth; and what measures have been taken in relation to trees in the Ealing ward of Hanger Hill.
The Forestry Commission has powers to control pests under the Plant Heath (Forestry) Act 2005. The Forestry Commission is also working with the Food and Environment Research Agency on a proposal for oak processionary moth to be listed as a quarantine pest under European plant health legislation. While this proposal is being considered, our national measures remain in force.
The strategy to deal with oak processionary moth has moved from eradication to one of containment in the west London outbreak area. This is because the moth is now established in mature trees where it is no longer feasible to locate and destroy the pest effectively. A 10km buffer zone has been set up outside the outbreak area within which regular surveys will be conducted and statutory control notices will ensure that any new infestations are eradicated.
The Ealing Ward of Hanger Hill now lies within the containment zone.