23rd October 2017

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the extent of the spread of sudden oak death; and if he will make a statement.

Dr Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment: The disease known as ‘sudden oak death’ in the USA, is caused by the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum and has significantly affected North American native oak species. Tests have shown that Britain’s native oaks are not particularly susceptible and the disease has had little impact here on oak.

The main host species affected by this disease in Britain are larch, sweet chestnut and rhododendron, and the disease is widespread across Scotland, Wales and south-west England. The Forestry Commission has a management programme in place to slow the spread of this disease and carry out annual surveys to confirm its presence or absence.

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