7 Feb 2024

Beetle restrictions will allow trade to continue with Ireland

Scottish Forestry has been working closely with the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland governments to bring in measures which will reduce the risks posed by the great spruce bark beetle, Dendroctonus micans.

New restrictions will be imposed on moving spruce logs with bark to the island of Ireland from some of the west of Scotland’s Pest Free Area (PFA).

A 35 km buffer zone will be put in place around findings of the D. micans bark beetle.

Under the new measures:

  • Spruce timber moving under phytosanitary certificate will only be allowed to travel through the 35 km buffer zone between 1st October and 31st March, which is outside of the flying season for the D. micans bark beetle.

  • During this period between 1st October and 31st March, the timber should not be stored in the buffer zone but can be loaded at ports.  

  • Phytosanitary certificates confirming that conifer timber is free from D. micans will not be issued within 35 km of a beetle finding.

James Nott, Head of Tree Health at Scottish Forestry said:

“Both the West of Scotland and island of Ireland have pest free status for D. micans and a number of other bark beetles.  
“It is important that we are both able to maintain this status which has been in place for many years as it allows trade to continue.

“In Scotland, the D. micans bark beetle is getting gradually closer to the PFA boundary. Although no beetles have been found within the PFA it is no longer possible to guarantee freedom from this beetle in all areas.

“As a precautionary measure, to maintain the integrity of the rest of the west of Scotland PFA, it is necessary to introduce measures to mitigate the risk.

“This action will enable trade from the rest of the PFA to continue. However, if the beetles continue to spread, the longer-term prospect is for the area of the west of Scotland PFA to reduce and ultimately close.”

Scottish Forestry has published an Action Plan, including a map showing the area of the PFA immediately affected by these new restrictions due to current confirmed findings of D. micans within 35 km.  No further phytosanitary certificates will be issued for spruce roundwood from within this area of the PFA.

As the port of Sandbank is within this area, export of spruce roundwood from unaffected parts of the PFA to the island of Ireland through Sandbank will only be allowed between 1st October and 31st March.