Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1142)

Joe Carey


1142. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to deal with the threat posed by the spruce bark beetle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18526/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Forestry Inspectorate of my Department is responsible for implementing the forestry aspects of the EU Plant Health Directive, Council Directive 2000/29/EC on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community. The Forestry Inspectorate implements import provisions and inspections relating to timber, wood packaging material (pallets, crates etc), forest plants, Christmas trees and other forest products and surveys of the national forest estate for quarantine forest pests and diseases.

In recognition of Ireland’s pest free status from six harmful bark beetles including Ips typographuss (the eight toothed spruce bark beetle), Ireland has protected zone status recognised by the Directive for these harmful pests and imposes stricter import requirements than would apply outside protected zones within the EU. Specifically coniferous wood with bark cannot be imported into Ireland from EU countries where these beetles are known to occur unless:

1. It is accompanied by an Official Statement to say the wood originates from an area known to be free from the pest OR

2. The wood is free of bark OR

3. The wood has been kiln dried to <20% M/C and is marked “KD”.

Three of the protected zone bark beetles are already known to occur in Great Britain, (and are absent from Ireland). Ips typographus has been found recently in Kent in the south of England. The importation of roundwood with bark from Great Britain to Ireland is permitted but only if it originates from the officially recognised Pest Free Area (PFA) in south west Scotland and is accompanied by an Official Statement to attest to its origin. This Pest Free Area is routinely surveyed by the Authorities in Great Britain for the presence/absence of the regulated harmful bark beetles in order to maintain this PFA status.

My Department is maintaining close contact with authorities in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland and will continue to keep the outbreak under close review.

Question No. 1143 answered with Question No. 1126.