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HTA Welcomes Defra Consultation on Banning Imports of Sweet Chestnut

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has welcomed the government consultation on the proposed ban on the import of sweet chestnut trees into Britain in a bid to prevent a repeat of the ash dieback outbreak.

The HTA called for the ban last month.

Owen Paterson, Environment Secretary made the call for a ban at the "Stop the Spread" garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, a garden commissioned by FERA and supported by Government and trade bodies such as the HTA. There will be a six-week consultation on the total ban on imports of sweet chestnut trees before the next planting season.

Chestnut blight, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica has already affected two sites in the UK. So far, 180 trees have been destroyed on sites in Warwickshire and Essex, following the importation of infected trees from France in 2011.

Tim Briercliffe, Director of Business Development at the HTA said: “With the potential increase in the planting of sweet chestnut as an alternative to ash, this could present an unnecessary risk to UK woodland already under stress from chalara. We therefore support the proposed ban, and will continue to work with Defra to control the outbreak of pests and diseases in the UK.”

For more information on sweet chestnut blight, please see the Forestry Commission page here.

Source: HTA - HTA Welcomes Defra Consultation on Banning Imports of Sweet Chestnut