Lord Jones of Cheltenham – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham on 2016-03-23.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the review from Keele University, published in the Journal of Ecology, warning that almost all ash trees in Europe will be wiped out due to the fungal disease ash dieback and the emerald ash borer beetle, and what plans they have to tackle these twin problems.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble

We are committed to protecting our country from tree pests and diseases and we want to ensure that the ash tree continues to have a place in our environment. To support this we have invested over £21 million in tree health research.

Natural tolerance to ash dieback does exist and the UK is leading research to identify resistant strains. Ash trees have a wide genetic diversity and potential for greater levels of resistance compared to other tree species affected by diseases.

There have been no findings of emerald ash borer anywhere in the EU. We have identified this pest as a threat, have introduced restrictions to protect against its introduction and are screening native populations of ash trees grown abroad for resistance.