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Call for a ban on ash woodchip


Imports of woodchip from foreign ash trees should be banned in an attempt to avoid the spread of the devastating ash dieback disease, a member of the Environment Select Committee has said.

Barry Gardiner, a Labour MP, has urged the Government to impose stricter measures as Britain comes to terms with the possible effects of the Chalara fraxinea fungus. Woodchip can be used as a biomass fuel, including for for power stations. Though it does not pose a risk once it has been burned, Mr Gardiner said it is the "transportation, the transmission, the handling that allows the infection to spread".

"It seems to me that the Government, in addition to banning seedlings, which are a clear factor of transmission of this disease, should also be considering banning not all biomass, but the ash woodchip that contains twigs and leaves," he told the BBC.