25th January 2018

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what studies his Department is conducting into the prospects for survival of the ash tree.

Dr Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment: Defra’s programme of research on ash dieback has broadly focused on three areas:

  1. Impacts: Research into predicting the economic, social and environmental impacts of ash dieback in woodlands and the wider environment.
  1. Mitigation: We are conducting the world’s largest screening trials to identify disease tolerant trees, which raises the possibility of using selective breeding to develop strains of tolerant trees. We have also commissioned research to develop guidance for local authorities and landowners to mitigate the impacts of the disease


  2. Better understanding of the disease: We have commissioned research to enhance our understanding of the disease including work on spread and disease progression.

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