HC Deb 12 April 1989 vol 150 c563W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research his Department is undertaking on White Willow Watermark disease and its impact upon cricket bat manufacture; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder

Research into the watermark disease of cricket bat willow is being carried out at the university of East Anglia and the Forestry Commission has provided some of the funding for this. It is not, however, undertaking any additional in-house research into the disease.

Meetings held recently between growers of willow and the cricket bat manufacturers, which have been attended by a representative from the Forestry Commission, seem likely to result in a voluntary levy being applied to the clefts from which the bats are made. This will enable further research to be carried out.

There has been a significant reduction in the number of diseased trees found in Britain over the last 15 years, largely because of control measures carried out under the Watermark Disease (Local Authorities) Order 1986 and its predecessors.