• Text size
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Chalara action plan

THE Scottish Government has put together an interim plan in a bid to tackle the Chalara disease before the infectious stage of the disease becomes active.

The plan aims to reduce the rate of spread, develop better resistance to the disease, encourage engagement with the public, landowners and the industry, and build resilience in woodlands and associated industries.

To help take forward the control plan in Scotland, a new tree health advisory group is to be formed.

The group, made up of environmental, forestry and land-based industries, will work with Forestry Commission Scotland and others in the Scottish Government to develop more detailed action plans for tackling Chalara and other serious tree diseases and pests in Scotland.

A major Scottish stakeholder summit on tree health is planned for March 2013 to bring organisations up to date with the latest developments and scientific thinking on Chalara and other tree diseases.

Environment and climate change minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: "The Scottish Government has been fully engaged with the UK government to create this interim control plan for Chalara.

"In Scotland we are continuing survey work to help map the extent of Chalara and provide a better evidence base for management decisions.

"The disease is not infectious until the summer months so we now have a window of opportunity to pull together the best plan of action for Scotland."

Specific Scottish actions for the Tree Health Advisory Group include:

- Exploring a more targeted approach to the management of infected trees:

- Developing a plant health network of trained people who can support official surveillance and detection: and

- Working with the nursery sector in Scotland to develop long-term resilience to the impacts of Chalara and other plant health threats.

RSPB has said it is cautiously encouraged by the initial plans, Stuart Housden, Scotland director for the charity, said: "This is only a partial step towards tackling the plethora of new pests and diseases being imported into Scotland. We need a stronger approach to prevent these threats from arriving in the first place."

Confor's has also welcomed the plan. Chief executive Stuart Goodall said: "Experience abroad suggests that there is little we can do, so we are concerned that limited resources are put to best use. There is a real danger that an over-ambitious focus on reducing spread will take away resource from other vital areas of work."

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on The Scottish Farmer on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.