Strengthened measures on the import of most species of oak into England have been put into place to protect native trees from the threat of oak processionary moth (OPM).
The bolstered measures will only permit imports of certain oak trees, if they come from OPM free countries, from designated pest free areas including Protected Zones (PZ), or have been grown under complete physical protection for their lifetime.
This Statutory Instrument (SI), published in July 2019, builds on measures introduced in August 2018 and applies to all oak trees, except cork oak, over a certain size. This is because these trees represent the greatest likelihood of introducing OPM into the UK PZ, as they are more susceptible to pest populations and more difficult to inspect. The restrictions will cover both imports into England from overseas and the movement of trees from areas of the country where OPM is already present – in London and surrounding counties (outside the UK PZ). Strengthened measures on the import of oak in Scotland are also in place with equivalent requirements to be introduced in Northern Ireland and Wales shortly.