"There have been restrictions affecting access to certain parts of the policies at Mount Stuar for over 2 years now so I am contacting you to ask for an update on whether this fungal infection in the woodland in the area between Kerrycroy and the Mausoleum has been brought under control.
Is there any timetable for when this area can be re-opened to the public?
Is closure of the Kerrycroy gate to prevent all access to the grounds via the tarmac driveway justified as part of the management plan for eradicating the fungus?"
Phytophthora ramorum is a fungus-like plant pathogen which attacks a wide range of trees and shrubs and has the potential to cause significant damage to gardens, woodlands and heathland so, to protect our environment, biodiversity and the rural economy, this quarantine pathogen is controlled by statutory measures. Similar measures are in place in the rest of the UK and across Europe.
The Phytophthora ramorum infection at Mount Stuart was originally found in November 2018 and swift action was taken to remove and destroy the infected plant material. A programme of containment and eradication was established, which includes ongoing surveillance inspections and laboratory testing activities and, in November 2019, a further positive finding was confirmed. Eradication cannot be declared until a site has been free of this disease for a minimum of three years and the earliest that this can be achieved at this site is November 2022 provided no further positive findings occur. Surveillance activities undertaken at the site in 2020 found no further spread of the Phytophthora ramorum infection.
When a site is in the containment phase and to prevent further spread of the pathogen, it is important to maintain high biosecurity standards, including signage, boot washing, cutting back foliage from paths and, in some cases, site managers may temporarily restrict access. These biosecurity measures are at the discretion of the site managers themselves.
The Scottish Government provides advice on biosecurity practices, plant removal and disease eradication. If walking in areas infected by Phytophthora ramorum it is important to wash footwear and avoid brushing against foliage as this disease can easily be transferred to other host plants and could be inadvertently spread to new areas.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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