Defra call for responses to Phytophthora consultation

Growers, head gardeners and woodland managers are being encouraged to send in their responses to Defra's consultation on Phytophthora before the deadline of 10 October.

Defra’s Phytophthora Policy team leader Gordon Friend said the responses so far had been very good but that they would still welcome letters from interested parties.

The Forestry Commission’s Roddie Burgess said: Even if you have already written in, if you realise that you have further comments to add they are welcomed.

Friend said a final decision will be made on the management of Phytophthora by ministers Joan Ruddock and Lord Rooker within the next three months, with the aim to implement the strategy by spring 2009.

Both were speaking at a meeting jointly held by Defra, the Central Science Laboratory and the Forestry Commission at Stoneleigh Park on Wednesday. Speakers aimed to inform industry figures on the issues contained in the consultation document.

Two management options for diseases Phytophtora ramorum and P. kernoviae have been put forward for consideration.

Option one is to meet minimum EU requirements on control of P. ramorum and remove all controls against P. kernoviae.

Option two is to increase control by enhancing containment and eradication measures at nurseries and garden centres and continue removing hosts of the diseases, especially Rhododendron ponticum, in woodlands and gardens.

View the consultation document at

Reponses should be emailed to or sent to Margaret O’Donnell at Ground Floor, Foss House, Kings Pool, 1-2 Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PX.

To read a full report of the meeting, including industry reaction, see the next issue of Horticulture Week magazine.

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