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Poole To Benefit From Tighter Controls On The Import Of Trees

Borough of Poole has welcomed a recent Government announcement which has tightened controls on the import of sweet chestnut and plane trees into the country.

The restrictions, which came into force on 12 November, are designed to protect UK tree species from pests and diseases, especially chestnut blight and plane canker.

Andy Osborne and Sweet Chestnut Trees by Gravel Hill
Andy Osborne and Sweet Chestnut Trees by Gravel Hill

These new regulations will ensure that any sweet chestnut or plane tree moved in, around and out of England is accompanied by official documentation confirming that the tree is from an area free of any relevant disease. These controls will reduce the threats from pests and diseases coming into the country.

Poole has a small woodland in the lower part of Gravel Hill predominantly populated with sweet chestnut trees (Castanea sativa). The borough has a lesser number of plane trees (Platanus x hispanica), although some can be found around the Twin Sails Bridge approaches.

Andy Osborne, Senior Arboricultural Officer, Borough of Poole, said: "Chestnut blight is a plant disease caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica. It attacks the bark and enters through fissures or wounds. The fungus can spread with such rapidity in infected bark that stems or branches are soon girdled and the dead bark becomes visible as a sunken canker.

"Plane canker (Ceratocystis fimbriata f. platani) is a wilt pathogen and causes canker staining, severe wilting and tree mortality. Infection commonly occurs through fresh wounds, although transfer between trees can occur across root contacts.

"Chestnut blight could become more of a problem for us in Poole than plane canker, as we have more of this species in our mixed woodlands. These new regulations will help us keep our trees as healthy as possible in the years ahead."

Councillor Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, Borough of Poole, said: "We live in a beautiful part of the country and our trees play a hugely important part in shaping our landscape. The variety of trees we have in the borough plays an important role in residents' enjoyment of the natural environment including the wildlife they support. The council is committed to protecting Poole's environment and we welcome these new regulations from the Government."