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Trees: Diseases

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th March 2016.

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Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow Conservative, Taunton Deane

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of tree disease on (a) existing woodland and (b) the restoration of planted ancient woodland.

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Protecting our country from plant and tree pests and diseases is important for our economy, the environment and our health. Defra is committed to protecting our borders from pests and building the resilience of our trees and plants.

We assess the impacts of pests and disease threats on trees and plants and take a risk-based approach to ensure that our response is directed towards priority pests and diseases and their respective pathways. We have produced a prioritised plant health risk register which is used to identify risks and agree priorities for action.

The Forestry Commission has a comprehensive monitoring and surveillance programme in place for tree pests and diseases in woodlands. Maps of the latest confirmed findings are available on its website:

www.forestry.gov.uk/pestsanddiseases

Defra has funded research to ‘Assess and address the impacts of ash dieback on UK woodlands and trees of conservation importance’. The published report includes a series of case studies on sites of ancient woodland and is available at:

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5273931279761408

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