UK forests to get £5.8m protection

Tree diseases are rising alongside global temperatures

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The government has launched a £5.8 million laboratory to start research on protecting the UK’s forests.

The Holt Laboratory has been opened in Surrey by Defra and the Forestry Commission, to uncover ways to combat pathogens and pests from destroying forestry.

Scientists have revealed that tree diseases have become far more common of late, with rising temperatures from climate change leading to new insects that pose a threat including the emerald ash borer and the citrus longhorn beetle.

Forest Research conducted a study revealing that the number of tree diseases has increased by 25% in the last year – and this new institute will look at how this can be slowed, as well as how climate change is exacerbating the situation.

Minister for Biosecurity, Lord Benyon, said: “Six months on from COP26 and Royal Assent of our Environment Act, it is fitting to be bringing forward cutting-edge research that will be central to keeping our trees healthy and resilient as we deliver on our ambitious commitment to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament.”