New legislation to help tackle Larch disease in southern Scotland

by | Jun 6, 2014 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

A new Plant Health Order will now make it easier for the forestry sector to deal with the extensive outbreak of Phytophthora ramorum on larch trees in south west Scotland, especially when it comes to administering the movement of infected materials.

The new Order applies only to an area called the ‘Management Zone’ where high levels of infection are already widespread.

Due to the scale of the outbreak in this region, continuing with the approach of issuing individual Statutory Plant Health Notices and Movement Licences to owners of infected larch trees is no longer seen as practical or the most effective way of controlling the wider spread of the disease from this area.

The Order therefore enables Forestry Commission Scotland to ease controls on the movement of larch materials which stay entirely within the Zone, this providing a significant easing of the current burden on many local growers and processors.

Nevertheless, to prevent infected or potentially infected material being transported in an uncontrolled way to other parts of Scotland and the rest of Great Britain, the Order places a restriction on any person wishing to move larch material from within the Management Zone to anywhere outside the Zone unless the movement is to an approved facility and records are kept of that movement.

Commenting on the new measures, Hugh Clayden, Forestry Commission Scotland’s tree health policy advisor said:

“This approach will make  procedures in the Management Zone simpler and less time consuming for all concerned, and will help in the management of Ramorum on larch not only here but also in the rest of Scotland. “

Forestry stakeholders have been consulted through the Phytophthora Working Group, but anyone wanting more details of the products affected, a copy of the Order, and the application form for anyone seeking a movement licence are available on the Forestry Commission Scotland web site:

Forestry Commission Scotland will continue to make use of individual Statutory Plant Health Notices and Movement Licences to combat the spread of the disease outside the ‘Management Zone’ as significantly fewer occurrences of the disease elsewhere in Scotland means it is still feasible and practical to take this approach.