§ Mr. Latham
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will outline the action being taken by his Department to prevent the introduction into the United Kingdom of oak wilt disease.
§ Mr. John MacKay
Oak wilt disese is causing the death of oaks in the United States of America, but is not known to occur in any other country. Scientists on both sides of the Atlantic believe that the risk of transmission of the disease on imported sawn oak wood is extremely remote. Nevertheless, the present controls on imports into Great Britain, exercised by the Forestry Commission, are very strict. Oak logs from North America are banned and sawn oak may be imported only if the bark has been removed and the wood has been totally square-edged or has been kiln dried or sterilised by hot water or hot air. Each consignment has to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the American or Canadian plant health authorities confirming that these requirements have been fulfilled. In addition, the Forestry Commission aims, through its plant health inspections, to examine all consignments of sawn oak wood from North America. Similar controls are exercised by the Department of Agriculture, Northern Ireland.