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Xylella fastidiosa: EU controls

Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterial disease, represents a serious threat to plants in the UK. The British ministry of agriculture are working to stop the spread of this disease and plant health authorities in the UK and elsewhere are keeping a close watch for it.

Xylella has not yet been found in the UK, but it has recently affected olive trees in Italy, a range of trees and plants in areas of Spain and France, and has been found in Germany. Plants in North and South America are being damaged by the disease.

Everyone in a horticultural business, or who moves or imports affected plants, must comply with strict conditions imposed under EU legislation. These affect ‘specified plants’ (which includes the confirmed hosts of Xylella fastidiosa in the EU and further afield). There are:
  • controls on importing these plants into Europe from non-EU countries
  • controls on moving these plants from those parts of the EU where it is has been detected
  • new requirements for all ‘host plants’ being moved between businesses to be from premises that are officially inspected on an annual basis, with testing of symptomatic plants, in addition to being accompanied by a plant passport
  • extra requirements, from 1 March 2018, for a sub-set of ‘host plants’ to be from officially inspected sites and systematically tested using a statistically based sampling system, irrespective of whether they show symptoms – these include Coffea, Lavandula dentata, Nerium oleander, Olea europaea, Polygala myrtifolia and Prunus dulcis
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