Publication - FOI/EIR release

Statistics regarding outbreaks of tree diseases since 2016: EIR release

Published: 5 Jan 2022

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Published:
5 Jan 2022
Statistics regarding outbreaks of tree diseases since 2016: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100254584
Date received: 10 Nov 2021
Date responded: 6 Dec 2021
Information requested

1. How many outbreaks of tree diseases has there been in the years of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021?

2. What tree diseases were causing the outbreaks in the years of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021?

3. What prevention measures did the Scottish Government introduce or recommend when there was outbreaks in the years of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021?

Response

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

In response to your questions 1 & 2 we have replied to both these questions in matrix format using the table below. Hopefully this is clear, however in considering this information please be aware of the following clarifications:

  • Scottish Forestry can only supply figures for ‘outbreaks’ that we have been formally made aware of.
  • Scottish Forestry only record details of ‘notifiable’ diseases (not all diseases are notifiable however where SF have been made aware of an outbreak then these have been included in the table below).
  • The definition used is that an ‘outbreak is deemed to be a new, single incident of infection or interception (not the number of SPHN’s issued as these can cover more than one incidence).
  • There will be caveats in relation to 2020 (and 2021) in particular due to Covid 19 restrictions.
  • All figures for 2021 are ‘to date’ as this work continues.

 

Tree disease

Notifiable

Quarantine Organism?

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

2019

 

2020

 

2021

Total number of

outbreaks over the period;

 

Host species

 

Phytophthora ramorum

 

Yes

 

126

 

232

 

571

 

415

 

621

 

598

 

2563

 

Host species breakdown: 2243 Larch; 285 Rhododendron; 25 Sitka spruce; 2 Notofagus, 4 Douglas Fir, 1 Sequoia; 1 Vaccinium, I Quercus, 1 Araucaria araucana

Phytophthora foliorum

No

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

Rhododrendron

Phytophthora plurivora

No

2

3

 

 

 

 

5

Rhododrendron

Phytophthora

pseudosyringae

Yes

 

1

 

 

 

 

1

Rhododrendron

Phytophthora kernoviae

Yes

 

 

4

 

 

 

4

Rhododrendron

Phytophthora austrocedri

Yes

2

 

 

 

 

 

2

Juniper

Elatobium

No

 

 

 

8

 

 

8

Norway spruce

Phythium

No

2

 

 

 

 

 

2

Rhododrendron

Dothistroma needle blight

(DNB)*

No

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

Lodgepole pine. *NB: DNB is notifiable only when in a nursery environment. It is

accepted as being widespread on pine across Scotland, despite this single record.

Sirococcus tsugae

No

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

Cedrus sp.

Neonectria spp.

No

 

 

 

 

3

 

3

1 Abies nordmanniana, 2 Sitka spruce,

Neonectria fuckeliana

No

 

 

 

 

 

2

2

Sitka spruce

Neonectria neomacrospora

No

 

 

 

 

 

3

3

1 Abies Nebrodensis, 1 Abies sibirica, 1 Abies lasiocarpa

Hymenoscyphus fraxineus

Yes

15

58

34

24

43

22

196

Fraxinus

Phytophthora lateralis

Yes

 

2

 

 

 

 

2

Cypress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2794

 

In response to your question 3:
In terms of preventative measures, on behalf of the Scottish Government and as part of our effort to manage tree health on an ongoing basis, Scottish Forestry:

  • Works with partners to understand the biology of pests and diseases and learn how to combat or live with them. Via the Scottish Tree Health Advisory Group such partners include; Confor, Forest Research, Forestry and Land Scotland, Scottish Government, NatureScot and Institute of Chartered Foresters as well as Scottish Forestry. Scottish Forestry’s Tree Health Team, along with the Scottish Government Plant Health Team and Scotland’s Chief Plant Health Officer, are part of the UK Plant Health Service, ensuring an integrated, cross-border approach to tree and plant health management.
  • Undertake annual aerial surveillance of Scotland's woodlands to spot early signs of tree health issues, and follow this up with ground surveys and diagnostic testing.
  • Help to inform importers and exporters of the relevant regulations and restrictions in relation to tree insect and pathogen pests.
  • Issue Statutory Plant Health Notices requiring that woodland owners act to contain or slow down outbreaks when discovered.
  • Provide targeted plant health grants where it is in the public interest to do so.
  • Encourage the reporting of signs of infections via Tree Alert.
  • Encourage everyone to take appropriate biosecurity measures and Keep it Clean.

More specifically:
Phytophthora ramorum and ash dieback remain the highest profile tree health issues in Scotland, and Action Plans for them remain under regular review.

A formal review of the Scottish Forestry P. ramorum on larch action plan was carried out over the winter of 2020/21. The revised Scottish Forestry Phytophthora ramorum action plan was published in June 2021.

Guidance on the management of ash dieback in Scotland was reviewed and published in 2021; Scottish Forestry - Ash dieback in Scotland.

Scottish Forestry (SF) maintains a Pest Free Area (PFA) in line with International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) and this was reviewed and published in 2021 thus maintaining the status of the conifer bark beetle PFA of a large area of western Scotland, as free from D. micans (and a number of other bark beetles) enabling the trade of conifer round wood to the island of Ireland. More information on this PFA and the procedures that underpin it can be found here.

There is a recurring annual programme of surveillance carried out by the Scottish Forestry operational tree health team directly and this is indicatively shown in the following table (Annex A).

About FOI

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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