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New notification requirements for olive trees to protect against introduction of Xylella fastidiosa from the EU

5 November 2018

From 26 November 2018 there will be new notification requirements for importing olive trees from the EU to help protect the UK against Xylella.

The Order will extend the statutory notification scheme for imports of certain, plant and tree species from other EU member states to include Olea europaea (common olive) to provide additional protection against the introduction of Xylella fastidiosa which was recently found in Belgium.

In response to this recent finding Defra has introduced tighter measures around the import of certain high risk-hosts. 

Alongside these tightened measures Defra urges the public and tree and plant professionals to remain vigilant for signs of Xylella, practice good biosecurity measures and to notify APHA without delay if Xylella is suspected. 

All growers and traders should take the following actions: 

  • Ensure imported plants both originate from and are sourced from disease free areas.
  • Source from known suppliers or visit suppliers to view their processes, procedures, bio-security arrangements and the plants they grow.
  • Isolate or quarantine new batches of plants and monitor them during the growing season for signs of the disease.
  • Ensure that plant passports arriving with plants are correct and keep the plant passport to aid trace back if necessary.
  • Follow the full guidance on Gov.uk

This update to the legislation follows the launch of the Government’s first Tree Health Resilience Strategy in May which pledged tough action to protect the nation’s trees from pests, diseases and climate change.

For further advice businesses are advised to contact their local PHSI in the first instance: http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/plantHealth/contactUs.cfm

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