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Sweet Chestnut Blight

Since sweet chestnut blight was confirmed in trees in 2016, there have been cases at eight sites in Devon, a site in Dorset, eight sites in East London, a site in Berkshire, three sites in Derbyshire, and one site in Leicestershire. In all cases action was taken to limit spread of the disease from sites and determine its local distribution.

Further action will be taken on the basis of surveillance information and the best available scientific evidence. Local businesses or woodland owners and managers needing further information may contact their Forestry Commission Area office.

Following the outbreak in Devon in December 2016, a prohibition was imposed on the movement of oak and sweet chestnut material, including plants, logs, bark, branches, foliage and firewood out of, or within, six zones. Five of these zones were in Devon and one in Dorset.

The prohibitions in all six zones took effect on Friday 12 May 2017 and were lifted on Tuesday 27th March 2018.

Movement restrictions at affected sites where infected trees were found will continue on a site by site basis taking account of the situation in each area based on the current policy approach.

The requirements of the prohibition were intended to reflect a precautionary approach to protect against the risk of spread of infected material. Since finding the disease in late 2016 we have gathered intelligence and conducted extensive research to improve understanding of the disease risk. In the majority of sites in south-west England we have found no evidence of spread to the wider environment.

A Notice relating to the lifting of the movement prohibition can be found here, relating to the below demarcated areas:

  • The Plant Health (Sweet Chestnut Blight) (Demarcated Area No.1) Notice made on 9th May 2017,
  • The Plant Health (Sweet Chestnut Blight) (Demarcated Area No.2) Notice made on 9th May 2017,
  • The Plant Health (Sweet Chestnut Blight) (Demarcated Area No.3) Notice made on 9th May 2017,
  • The Plant Health (Sweet Chestnut Blight) (Demarcated Area No.4) Notice made on 9th May 2017,
  • The Plant Health (Sweet Chestnut Blight) (Demarcated Area No.5) Notice made on 9th May 2017,
  • The Plant Health (Sweet Chestnut Blight) (Demarcated Area No.6) Notice made on 9th May 2017.

 Local woodland and business owners and managers who need further information about the lifting of the movement prohibition may contact the Forestry Commission’s South-West England Area office by email on southwest.fce@forestry.gsi.gov.uk  or by telephone on 0300 067 4960.

The horticulture trade, garden centres and householders should contact the PHSI on 01904 405138 or planthealth.info@apha.gsi.gov.uk.