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Trees: Diseases

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL17353, tabled on 22 July 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what lessons were learnt as a result of the loss of English elm trees as a result of Dutch elm disease; and whether those lessons are being applied to ash dieback.

Answered on

31 July 2019

Safeguarding plant health remains one of Defra’s top priorities. The full findings from Government funded research into the lessons learned from the UK Dutch elm disease outbreak were published by Imperial College in 2011 and an independent taskforce on Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity was convened after the arrival of ash dieback in 2012. The Government has implemented all of the recommendations of the taskforce, including appointment of the Chief Plant Health Officer, development of a prioritised risk register, strengthened border security, import regulations and governance arrangements.

The Tree Health Resilience Strategy - the first major publication to come out of the 25-Year Environment Plan sets out a new proactive approach to tree health, with landowners, charities, the public and government working together to take actions to build resilience against pests and diseases to protect the nation’s trees.