Eleanor Laing calls for EU action to tackle Ash Dieback Disease

Speaking in a debate on Government action to tackle ash dieback disease, Eleanor Laing calls for the EU to do more to protect our precious, ancient forests from airborne diseases and diseases imported from Europe.

Mrs Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest) (Con): The House has heard what the Minister said about his Government not second-guessing the international consensus and not being impeded by the EU, but does he not understand the annoyance of my constituents, who care about our precious, ancient Epping forest, at the EU’s lack of action on biocontrol? While EU officials are wasting their time and our money trying to interfere with the work of UK hairdressers, who do not need protection, they are doing nothing for our ancient forests, which need protection from airborne diseases and diseases imported from Europe. Why has the EU not taken action, and will he do all he can to ensure that it does so?

Mr Heath: We have brought together scientific experts from all over Europe to deal with this problem. I am not sure that the people dealing with hairdresser regulation are best deployed dealing with tree health. We need to use all available methods to restrict the spread of tree diseases, because there is a very high incidence of several of them, particularly in northern Europe. We should do everything we can do to avoid their coming into this country.

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