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RFS welcomes Government action on Sweet Chestnut Blight
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Sweet chestnut © Forestry Commission

Date Issued: 22 July 2013


The RFS has wholeheartedly welcomed the Government’s imminent import ban on sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) trees from areas affected by Sweet Chestnut Blight (Cryphonectria parasitica).

The blight was detected in the UK in 2011 in about half of 300 trees planted for nut production in Warwickshire, and later at a site of 30 trees in East Sussex. All the trees were subsequently destroyed.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has pledged that the ban will be in place before the end of September 2013, in time for the next growing season. The ban follows a recommendation from the independent Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce set up as a result of the discovery of Ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea).

Defra has made tree and plant health one of its top priorities and Sweet Chestnut Blight was one of the diseases considered in the initial risk register developed at the beginning of July.

The disease is present in areas of Southern Europe and in northern America where it has caused a devastating loss of trees. More than 18,000 sweet chestnuts were imported to the UK in the first four months of 2013.

Further information on Sweet Chestnut Blight can be found For more on sweet chestnut trees, visit the RFS A–Z of Trees.