HC Deb 18 February 1929 vol 225 cc767-8
21. Brigadier-General BROWN

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether any steps have been taken to discover the cause of outbreaks of bracken disease in Scotland, with a view to introducing the disease to those parts of our agricultural land in England where bracken is a pest?


Investigations into the causes of outbreaks of alleged bracken disease are in progress at Leeds University and in Scotland. An investigation of this character is necessarily slow and it is too soon to say whether any action can usefully be taken on the lines indicated in the question. I am, however, sending my hon. and gallant Friend a small pamphlet which gives some information on the subject.

Commander WILLIAMS

Has this outbreak taken place in one area only or in a few areas? Has the Department yet discovered what is the kind of insect that causes the disease?


The outbreak has occurred in various parts of the country. The disease is thought to be due to a fungus, but further inquiries are being made as to whether that is indeed the cause of the disease, or whether there is some other cause which weakens the bracken and enables the fungus to take root.

Brigadier-General BROWN

Does this particular disease affect any other plant but bracken?


That matter will, of course, be examined in the inquiries that are being made. The danger of introducing any of these viruses is that they may affect valuable plants as well as bracken.


Will not the present snow and frost put an end to all this disease?


I am afraid it will not put an end to the bracken.