HC Deb 13 July 1988 vol 137 c240W
Mrs. Gillian Shephard

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, in the light of the recent discovery of another outbreak of rhizomania, he proposes to increase the resources directed to the plant health inspectorate; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson

We are taking a number of steps to protect the United Kingdom sugar beet crop from further outbreaks of rhizomania. These include the fumigation of and quarantine conditions imposed on the Suffolk farm where the 1987 outbreak occurred, the very extensive surveying of beet-producing areas since 1983. the monitoring of particular imports where rhizomania could be a risk, however small, the reduction of soil tolerances on imports of potatoes and other vegetables and the disposal of waste fom imported vegetables to approved sites only. Rhizomania was recently discovered in soil from the wrapped root balls of Acers imported from the Netherlands. This single finding of rhizomania did not constitue an outbreak of the disease. The discovery was a result of the vigilance of the plant health inspectorate, and I am satisfied that the resources available to the inspectorate are sufficient to enable it to carry out its task effectively.

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