§ Mr. Fraser
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the threat to woodlands and wild landscapes which comes from the spread of rhododendrons.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
The Department has not carried out specific work on this subject, but in 1984 the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology published a report noting that in many areas of Britain there was evidence of significant increases in the spread of rhododendron. The Forestry Commission controls rhododendron on its own land where it is affecting tree growth and gives advice as appropriate to owners of private woodlands. In addition the commission is undertaking research on alternative means of control, including methods of limiting regrowth after cutting.