The London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) Biosecurity working group – made up of LTOA tree managers and other arboricultural professionals – focuses on London’s Plane trees as an example of the pest and disease threats that the Capital’s tree species currently face. The LTOA’s Biosecurity statement is available on the front page of the LTOA website at www.ltoa.org.uk.
The Plane has become a familiar part of the London treescape and is well known for its resilience to pollution and tolerance to root disturbance and pruning. Unfortunately even this hardy species is now vulnerable to pests and diseases, largely due to the ever-increasing movement of plants and timber around Europe and beyond. The loss of this tree in London would be devastating.
In order to protect the Plane population of the UK from Canker Stain of Plane (Ceratocystis platani), the Forestry Commission (FC) are seeking to maintain the ban on importing planes from mainland Europe. This can only achieved by providing evidence to the European Union plant health authorities that the disease is not present in the UK. The LTOA are working closely with the FC to undertake a survey of Plane trees in London in order to maintain the import ban.
Richard Edwards, Chair of the LTOA says “There are unprecedented threats to our city’s trees from the arrival of exotic pests and diseases, many prompted by climate change and globalisation. With this statement our Biosecurity working party sets the scene for future action and illustrates our position with reference to London’s wonderful Plane trees”.