London Tree Officers Association launches Oak Processionary Moth guidance note as battle to prevent its spread falters

The LTOA has called for urgent action and resources to combat of the Oak Processionary Moth and admitted attempts to curb the spread of the pest could be "on the brink of failure".

The guidance note on the problem of Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) provides recommendations for tree officers and others who manage trees and woodlands in London. It aims to help them formulate search and treatment plans and to understand the background to the pest.

The area hit by Oak Processionary Moth is growing and it is possible that attempts to eradicate the pest may fail, the London Tree Officers Association said.

The guidance note describes the reasons why, "despite the hard work and effort put in by many organisations and individuals, we may be on the brink of failure".

The LTOA said at present the issue was generally considered as an issue of plant health.  However, the should eradication fail and the pest continued to spread, the LTOA said it believed that the human health problem would belatedly have to be recognised at considerable potential cost.

It added that while eradication may still be possible the pest must be dealt with now.

LTOA chairman Dave Lofthouse said: "We are providing our members with the best tool we can devise to help them plan front-line action but resources will be the other key to success."

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