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UK restricts imports to halt infection by Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium that has caused significant damage to olive trees in Italy over the past seven years

21st April 2020

Severe restrictions will be placed on imports of some very popular trees and plants in an effort to halt a deadly infection.

Xylella fastidiosa has wreaked havoc on olive plantations in parts of Italy and has also been found in France and Spain.

To prevent the disease spreading to the UK, imports of olive trees and lavender bushes will now be curtailed.

There will also be restrictions on almond, rosemary and oleander shrubs.

Xyllela is a bacterium that has caused significant damage to olive trees in Italy over the past seven years.

Spread by spittlebugs and other sap-sucking insects, the resulting disease has no treatment and it is said to have cut Italy’s olive harvest to its lowest level in 25 years.

A recently published study suggested that the infection could cause billions of euros in damages if it spreads further into olive-producing regions of Spain and Greece.

But Xylella is not just a disease of olive trees.

According to experts, some 560 species in 72 plant families can be affected by the infection.

For the UK, Xylella poses a threat to iconic species including oak, elm and plane trees.

Check out the BBC web site for more…