Bark beetle measures piloted ahead of plant passport widening

Ahead of a wider introduction of timber plant passporting in December 2019, the system is being piloted in South East England to protect against the spread of the larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle - or Ips typographus - which was found in the UK, in Kent, for the first time in December 2018.

Measures to protect the country against the larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle were introduced in January 2019, following the outbreak in Kent.

The controls restrict the movement of all spruce material, including trees and wood with bark, isolated bark and wood chip with bark that originated within 50km of the larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) outbreak site. This 50km area is known as the demarcated area.

Additional controls mean that spruce material must be accompanied by a plant passport if it is to be moved, and destined for a Forestry Commission authorised processor or end user. This applies to the movement of material both within and out of the demarcated area. Any movement of this material will be subject to inspection by Forestry Commission Plant Health Inspectors before dispatch.

Any material known to be infested cannot be moved with a plant passport, and can only be moved under strict controls defined by a Statutory Plant Health Notice.

Processors or end users can now apply for authorisation to receive and process spruce material from the demarcated zone, providing it has been inspected and is deemed to not be infested. 

Introducing plant passports for timber movement within Great Britain will enable the UK to retain its recognition by the European Union as a Protected Zone for conifer bark beetles and other known and emerging pests.

Timber that is bark-free can be moved without the requirement of a plant passport. The controls will remain in place until further notice, but will be kept under review.

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