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Ash Tree Dieback: EU must act faster

Alert systems should be improved across the European Union to prevent spread of diseases such as Ash Tree Dieback, Catherine Bearder MEP has said.

key_protectingenviron.pngIt comes as the Government said 100,000 trees have been destroyed in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, a ban on importing Ash trees has also been introduced, as the UK battles to save its woodland from further outbreaks.

Catherine said: "There are millions of Ash trees in the UK, which are also home to a wide range of species. They are not something our environment can afford to lose. We are now in a race against time to make sure this disease is contained."

The Chalara fraxinea fungus causes the disease which has already reportedly killed 90 per cent of Ash trees in Denmark.

And a string of European Union member states have reported outbreaks, including Germany, Netherlands, Romania and Belgium.

It appears the UK outbreak may have been as a result of spores carried by the wind from mainland Europe, or by movement of contaminated soil and plant material.

The EU plant regime contains measures to prevent the introduction and spread within the EU of organisms harmful to plants.

But Catherine has this week asked the Commission if there is anything which can be done to improve the body.

She added: "We need to make sure there is improvement in the effectiveness of the EU plant health regime to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"I have called on the Commission to introduce a Europe-wide alert system, which would trigger quicker action when outbreaks occur. The European Union is best-placed to share information to make sure the continent's biodiversity is protected."

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