Town's semi-mature imported oaks to be destroyed after OPM found

Two oak trees recently planted in central Hartlepool are being chemically treated and removed following the discovery of oak processionary moth (OPM) caterpillars.

Image: Hartlepool Borough Council
Image: Hartlepool Borough Council

Hartlepool Borough Council said it is required to chop down and incinerate the trees after treating them with insecticide.

Staff carried out checks and discovered the caterpillars after being alerted to a potential pest problem by Defra.

The council bought the trees, each about 12-13m tall, from a Dutch nursery. They were planted as part of a recent refurbishment of Church Square in the centre of the County Durham town.

It said the caterpillar eggs are thought to have already been on the trees when they left the Continent.

Defra has urged recent buyers of Continental oak trees to check for the pests following a number of recent interceptions.

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