Oct 31 Government Restricts Imports of Ash trees By Rich

Here is the official Government statement, issued by Fera and sent to us by the Forestry Commission.

Government restricts imports of ash trees to tackle disease

Issued jointly with Fera

Restrictions on the importation of ash trees into Great Britain to
combat chalara dieback of ash are being imposed with immediate effect,
Owen Paterson, Environment Secretary in the UK Government, announced
today. (Monday 29 October 2012).

The disease, caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea (C. Fraxinea), leads
to leaf loss and tree death. It has already affected trees in England
and Scotland, and killed trees in parts of mainland Europe. A
consultation which ended last Friday showed strong support for import
restrictions and action to prevent the disease spreading.

Movement restrictions within Great Britain will also be imposed, so that
ash trees, plants and seeds may not be moved to other places in Great
Britain.

The restrictions are being put in place before the main tree planting
season gets under way in late November. Dr John Morgan, Head of the
Forestry Commission’s Plant health Service, welcomed the move, saying,

“This is a sensible precaution to protect Britain from further
introductions and internal spread of the disease while we assess the
overall situation.

“We and our colleagues in the Food & Environment Agency (Fera) and the
Scottish Government plant health team have stepped up our efforts to
tackle this disease. For example, we have redeployed all our woodland
officer staff in East Anglia to survey the region for signs of infection
after infected trees in established woodland were found there.

“I would once again urge woodland managers and other tree professionals
to familiarise themselves with the symptoms illustrated on our website,
inspect their ash trees frequently for signs of ill health, and report
any suspicious cases to us.

“I am encouraged that although awareness of Chalara dieback has been
high among these groups, we have received very few reports of ill health
in ash trees in the wider natural environment.”

The legislation prohibits:

* all imports of ash plants, trees and seeds into Great Britain except
from officially designated pest-free areas (areas declared free of C.
fraxinea) until further notice. No such areas have been designated to
date;

* all movements of ash plants, trees and seeds within Great Britain
until further notice (in the absence of officially designated pest-free
areas in Great Britain);

* movement within Great Britain of logs and firewood from sites with
confirmed C. fraxinea infection which have been served with a Statutory
Plant Health Notice;

The following activities are permitted to continue:

* importation from European Union countries of logs, woodchips and
firewood, which pose a very low risk of disease transmission, especially
when they are kiln dried. In the unlikely event that this material is
found to contain infection, action such as destruction will be ordered;

* movements within Great Britain of sawn ash timber, which poses a very
low risk of disease transmission; and

* importation of sawn ash timber from certain countries under existing
regulations against the forestry pest emerald ash borer, provided such
material originates from a pest-free area for emerald ash borer. These
regulations require the material to be accompanied by official
phytosanitary (plant health) certificates declaring that the material
either originated in areas known to be free of EAB, or that the wood is
bark-free (which addresses the Chalara risk as well) before entering
Great Britain.

Further information, including a pictorial guide to symptoms and videos
about the disease, is available at www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara.

Detailed advice on the legislation is available from the Plant Health
Service, Forestry Commission, Silvan House, 231 Corstorphine Road,
Edinburgh EH12 7AT; email: plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk; tel. 0131
314 6414.

A press release including Mr Paterson’s comments on the legislation is
available on the Defra website.

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