Ban on imports of sweet chestnut trees
Imports of sweet chestnut trees from areas affected by sweet chestnut blight will be banned, the Government has announced.
A consultation has already revealed overwhelming support for a ban, which will be implemented during this summer.
Speaking at the CLA Game Fair at Ragley Hall this weekend Defra minister, Owen Paterson, said: “Tree health is one of my top priorities and I’m determined to act swiftly to protect our woodland and the thriving economy that relies on it.”
The move is in line with a recommendation made by the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce set up by Mr Paterson as a result of the discovery in the UK of Chalara Fraxinea, which afflicts ash trees.
Sweet chestnut blight is one of the diseases considered in a risk register developed by the taskforce – the disease is present in areas of Southern Europe and concerns about preventing it from entering the UK were raised by the CLA and the Horticultural Trade Association among others.