Plants: Weed Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 24 May 2024.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to SB6 of the Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier (Rhododendron Control), how many agreements have been reached to date; how many hectares are covered by those agreements; and how many hectares has rhododendron successfully been removed from.

Photo of Mark Spencer Mark Spencer The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Rhododendron ponticum is one of the most damaging invasive plants in the UK; it prevents woodland regeneration and destroys the natural understorey which has consequent impacts on birds and invertebrates. Countryside Stewardship (CS) option SB6 supports the control of rhododendrons, reducing the negative effect this can have on a site.

There are 487 CS agreements containing SB6, which cover a total of 2,615 hectares. SB6 is a CS capital item and can only be claimed once the work has been completed, to date 1,462 hectares of Rhododendrons have been removed.

In addition to the existing SB6 capital item, we will be introducing a revenue item later this year to support continued control of rhododendron once initial control has been undertaken. Some further information can be found within Technical annex: The combined environmental land management offer - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

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