HL Deb 29 April 1907 vol 173 c471


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, the object of this Bill is to grapple with what might be a very serious difficulty in the agricultural world—namely, the introduction of a disease called the gooseberry mildew. The disease has, I believe, appeared to some considerable extent in Worcestershire, and also in Ireland. Much consternation has been aroused in consequence, and there have been no fewer than ten Questions asked in the House of Commons on the subject. At present we have no power whatever to stop the introduction of this disease in any way. The disease, I believe, comes in the gooseberry canes that are introduced into this country in considerable number, and we have no power either to stop the introduction of these canes, to single them out, or to destroy trees in this country that are affected. Therefore this Bill, though a small one, is of considerable importance.

The Bill provides that the Board of Agriculture may make such Orders as they think fit to prevent the introduction or spread of any particular insect, fungus, or other pest, and these Orders may prohibit or regulate the landing of diseased plants and may authorise the removal or destruction of any crop or plant on which the pest is found. Compensation may be given by the local authority of half value in the case of diseased crops and three-fourths value in the case of other crops. Sub-section 2 of Clause 1 is necessary in order to avoid the necessity of having to lay the Order on the Table for forty days before it becomes effective. In this matter instant action is essential, and I may add that a similar provision applies to Orders under the Diseases of Animals Act. There is a great desire among fruit-growers that legislation should be passed to enable this disease to be tackled, and I hope your Lordships will give the Bill a Second Reading.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Earl Carrington.)

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House to-morrow.