Further sweet chestnut blight outbreaks lead to two more exclusion zones

UK plant health authorities have introduced a prohibition on the movement of sweet chestnut and oak material within two new 2km zones in Devon from tomorrow (12 May).

Image: Forestry Commission
Image: Forestry Commission

One zone (Zone 5, above), northeast of Launceston, Cornwall, includes two areas of infestation, one north and east of the village of St Giles on the Heath and the second which straddles the A30 trunk road west of the village of Lifton.

The second zone (Zone 6) around 8km to the northeast includes a further area of infestation.

But demarcations around four zones introduced in February are to be scaled back, also from tomorrow.

The boundaries of all six zones are set out on the GOV.UK website.

The prohibitions make it illegal to move sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) material including plants, logs, branches, foliage and firewood out of, or inside, zones within a 2km radius of sites, and also apply to oak, which can spread the disease though does not suffer from it, within 1km of the same sites.

"As is routine, the Forestry Commission and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) are carrying out tracing activity, inspecting sweet chestnut trees at other sites," the Forestry Commssion has said. "Subject to those investigations, further advice may follow."

The horticulture trade and garden centres should contact the APHA's Plant Health & Seeds Inspectorate by telephoning 01904 405138 or by emailing planthealth.info@apha.gsi.gov.uk.

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