HC Deb 15 September 2004 vol 424 c1578W
Mr. Lidington

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the risk from sudden oak death syndrome to woodlands in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; and if she will make a statement. [187259]

Mr. Bradshaw

Central Science Laboratory and Forest Research have prepared a Pest Risk Assessment (PRA) for the whole of Great Britain which concludes that a number of tree species are potentially at risk from Phytophthora ramorum, the cause of Sudden Oak Death. The PRA also compared long-term British climatic data with that in Oregon where the disease is also present. This suggests that it is principally the south and the west of the country that are at the highest risk. The Forestry Commission completed a nation-wide survey of trees earlier this year and no evidence of the disease was found in trees at any of the 1,217 sites visited, which included some sites in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Forestry Commission has just completed a second more limited survey of 109 plots in England and Wales. While some of the 73 samples taken are still being processed, to date none of these have proved positive for P. ramorum.

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