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Action needed to tackle the threat of Phytophthora ramorum in forestry sector

June 21, 2013 9:02 AM

William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Rural Affairs, has called for greater urgency from Welsh Government to address the threat posed by the rise of Phytophthora ramorum in Welsh forests.

William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat for Mid and West Wales, said:

"Phytophthora ramorum presents a very real threat to Welsh forests and the timber sector in general. While the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales have engaged in felling to contain the pathogen's spread, I continue to receive concerns from foresters, particularly in North Wales, that not enough is being done.

"For this reason I have called on the Welsh Government to deliver a statement to the National Assembly which updates us on the action taken thus far, and also outline how they plan to intensify their response."

Alec Dauncey, Welsh Liberal Democrat European Parliamentary Candidate, added:

"Phytophthora which is killing so many of our Larch trees in Wales can spread in the wind, it goes to show that pests and diseases don't respect national borders. Countries obviously need to work better together at a European level to monitor and control these risks. At the same time Britain is an island so the flexibility to control the trade in nursery plants is essential.

"The felling of whole hillsides of Larch demonstrates the folly of blanket plantations all of one species. If a disease kills one kind of tree, a whole woodland can be lost. The Minister must give assurances that the publicly funded planting and replanting of Welsh forests has at last taken this lesson to heart, and that a diverse mix of tree species are used, so that at least our future forests are able to withstand pests and diseases better"