Xylella: Imports

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 11th January 2018.

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Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the spread of Xylella through the importation of infected plants.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The threat that diseases such as Xylella pose to our country’s trees is a very real concern, for the landscape and for our economy. This is why in October last year, the Secretary of State wrote to European Commissioner Vytensis Andriukaitis to press for stronger EU protections against the disease, stating that we would be forced to take action if EU protections were not increased. The UK Government secured these increased protections in November 2017. Now, in addition to existing restrictions on host plants from high risk areas, inspections and testing are required for host plants moved anywhere within the EU. When we leave the EU we will have an opportunity to examine all our national biosecurity measures on plant imports to ensure they are as robust as possible to protect the UK against diseases like Xylella. This will significantly reduce the risk of the disease being brought to the UK.

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