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Oak Processionary Moth Outbreak Management Team

Minutes of the Fifth Meeting
12:30pm, 24 March 2010
Riverwalk House, London

Present:
Roddie Burgess, Head of Plant Health (Chair)
Nigel Straw, Programme Group Manager, Centre for Forestry & Climate Change
Ron Melville, Regional Director, London
Charlton Clark, Press Officer
Mike Robinson, Food & Environment Research Agency, Defra
Ben Clutterbuck, Ealing Council
Shaun Case, Richmond Council
Monique Simmonds, Kew Gardens
Jeremy Dalton, National Trust
Neil Manning, Hammersmith & Fulham Council
Barry Walsh, SW London Health Protection Unit, Health Protection Agency
Mike Turner, The Royal Parks
Christine Tilbury, Forest Research
Scott Meadows, Entomologist & Laboratory Manager, States of Jersey Department of Environment
Ralph Parks, Consultant Ecologist
Marion Kerr, Chair, London Conservancy Regional Advisory Committee
Debbie Erskine, Secretary

Apologies:
Margie Meltzer, David Lofthouse, Sara Redstone, Chris Begley, Frances Hirst, David Lofthouse, Becky Hesch, Richard Barnes, Robie Kamanyire, Russell Ball, Joseph McFarland, David Allister, Gary Rimmer, Al Smith

Agenda Item 1: Welcome and Introductions

1. Roddie welcomed everyone to the fifth meeting of the Oak Processionary Moth Outbreak Management Team.  He also welcomed Jeremy Dalton from the National Trust who was attending in place of Michael Oates and Monique Simmonds from Kew Gardens who was attending in place of Tony Kirkham.  He added that Marion Kerr, Chair of the London Conservancy RAC, was attending as an observer.

2. Roddie informed the Team that some members had met with stakeholders who owned land within the infected area the previous day and that he would give an update under agenda item 3, Matters Arising.  He also added that he would cover training, Kew Action Co-ordination Group, FC Research Project and Exit Strategy under agenda item 7, Next Steps.

Agenda Item 2: Minutes of the Fourth Meeting held on 28 October 2009

3. Roddie asked that Agenda Item 3, paragraph 8 be amended to read “The Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005 had been amended to permit the import of oak trees under two metres in height subject to meeting certain requirements to ensure freedom from Oak Processionary Moth and came into force in April 2009.”  The OMT agreed the amendment and the Minutes of the Fourth Meeting.

Agenda Item 3: Matters arising

4. Roddie updated the OMT on the following matters arising:

Para 5 -
• the landscaper who had planted the infested tree in Leeds had gone out of business so tracing the source of the tree, which had been removed, could not be determined;
• due to other commitments, Martin Townsend would no longer be involved in survey work, Roddie welcomed Ralph Parks who would lead this year’s survey;
• Susan Kramer MP had attended the stakeholder meeting the previous day;
• Ministers had been briefed. The Secretary of State had asked for an action plan and costs.  Roddie invited the Team to provide details;
• HPA were in the process of seeking literature on European Health agency responses and control measures;
• Christine had updated the survey results map;
• Ralph would take the lead on the 2010 survey and widen the survey area; and
• lawyers had been cautious when consulted on whether to include site names in the survey report and Roddie concluded that the names should be removed.

Para 6 – LTOA and the National Trust had requested training from Ralph.

Action:Team members to provide action plans and relevant costs to Roddie. Ralph to arrange training

OPM Landowners’ Meeting

5. Roddie explained that some Team members had met with key landowners the previous day to raise their level of understanding of the situation.  Roddie had outlined the events and actions taken since OPM was found and informed them that 2010 was a critical year as it could indicate whether it was realistic to continue to try to eradicate the species or accept that it could no be eradicated and that it would have to be managed.  Nigel had outlined the species’ lifecycle, behaviour, characteristics and management issues.  Barry and Olivier le Polain, a colleague from the Health Protection Agency, had outlined the health issues and their efforts to raise awareness among professionals, particularly GPs and pharmacists.  Barry agreed to send Roddie a copy of his presentation for distribution to the Team and for publishing on the website together with his own and Nigel’s.

Action: Barry to send Roddie a copy of his presentation for distribution to the Team and for publishing on the website.

6. Roddie reported that the landowners had two main differing views, one group was happy to comply with the Commission’s advice while the other, smaller, group appeared to believe that attempts to eradicate the species was futile.  Roddie also explained to them that he had attempted to identify funding to assist with the costs but, now that an election had been announced, this would have to be put on hold. During the meeting there was a recognition that some parties were not pulling their weight and that some owners were not being pursued as vigorously as others.  It had been suggested that information about the programme of work being carried out at each site should be made available.  Roddie proposed that the Team form a formal Kew Action Group, including local residents with infested sites, reporting back to the OPM OMT.  The Team discussed the Terms of Reference and agreed that Tony Kirkham should take the lead with Ron’s team providing additional support and that there should be borough council representation on the Group.

Action:Roddie to form a Kew Action Group. Monique to speak to Tony Kirkham about leading the Group.

7. Mike was concerned that it would be difficult to co-ordinate large blocks of work and that there would be a lack of prompt payment.  He was also concerned that The Royal Parks would not be able to spray all trees because of logistics and the size of the area and also that spraying could affect other insect species.  Kew had prepared themselves for spraying and would close the gardens for two days to blanket spray all oaks.  Barry was concerned about the public health risk of spraying insecticides and suggested that risk assessments should be carried out.  Christine added that pheromone trapping had not been as fully effective as it had been hoped and that there were also issues with the stability of the pheromone.  Roddie added that the other insect species killed during spraying would return in time and that it was important to try to eradicate OPM.

 
Agenda Item 4: Update on Statutory Controls - Paper OPM 01/10

8. Roddie explained the background to his paper and invited the Team to comment on his five summary recommendations:

• that the area to be excluded from the designation of the protected zone in Great Britain should be the London Boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow and Richmond;
• that the range of plants to which plant health controls should be applied should be limited to trees of Quercus L., other than Q. suber;
• that the requirements to be met should be those currently prescribed in the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005, as amended, but excluding Q. suber.
• that we should not seek to include controls on wood of oak; and
• our proposals concerning the application and use of plant passports for oaks produced or sold within Great Britain and that we consult the trade associations and other Plant Health Authorities before making final decisions.

The Team agreed all five recommendations and added that the use of plant passports for oak should exclude cork oak and hybrids.  Roddie agreed to take forward the amendments to the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005 when and if the case for a Protected Zone was approved.

Action: Roddie to make the necessary amendments to the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005.

Agenda Item 5: Review of Action Plan - Paper OPM 09/06

9. Roddie explained that he had invited the OMT to review the Action Plan as he wanted to have a better understanding about progress in the Boroughs.  Ben reported that the LTOA had formed a working group to carry out procurement exercises to get treatment work carried out more quickly by contractors.  Ralph added that a standard operating procedure should be produced and the Team discussed some of the procedures it should contain including:

• contractors should be encouraged to use GPS equipment to map the location of nests;
• trees containing nests should be taped so that the contractor could quickly identify where the work had to be carried out;
• inspectors should keep a database of work being carried out which should include a tick box to confirm that the nests had been removed;
• contractors should provide total cost of work, broken down by spraying and removal at the end of each contract.
Ralph and Ben agreed to produce the standard operating procedure.  Ben agreed to re-draft the Action Plan to include all boroughs and distribute to Team members.

Action:Ralph to produce a standard operating procedure.
Ben to re-draft the Action Plan to include all boroughs and distribute to Team members.

Agenda Item 6: Communications - Paper OPM 02/10

10. Charlton introduced his paper and explained its two primary objectives were to list the communications activities implemented in 2009 and those activities proposed for 2010.  He had drafted a News Release for issue after the meeting and had formed a communications sub-group of the OMT which included Kew.  As suggested by the Team, he also agreed to include the National Trust, the City of London and communications staff of the key landowners in the sub-group.

11. The Team agreed that the pest alert should be revised to include health messages which could be used as a website page, a poster or a leaflet.

Agenda Item 7: Next Steps

Training for Surveys
12. Roddie explained that Ralph was co-ordinating training for surveys which had been requested by The National Trust, LTOA and Royal Parks.  Mike Turner added that the Royal Parks would be happy to host the training. The OMT agreed that the training should consist of two separate exercises consisting of a classroom session in early May followed by a site visit to view nests in June.  Ralph, Ben, Mike and Jeremy agreed to co-ordinate the training.

Action: Ralph, Ben, Mike and Jeremy to co-ordinate training for surveys.
Kew Programme Action Group

13. Roddie explained that this item had been covered earlier in the meeting (paragraph 6).
Research

14. Roddie explained that the use of the vacuum for removing nests should be encouraged rather than the climb and remove method.  Kew and Bartletts were using the vacuum method and the Commission was purchasing one to carry out research work and asked the Team if they would consider allowing the Commission to carry out research work on their land.  Mike Turner offered Royal Parks.  Ben added that he was looking into the purchase of smaller vacuums which could be used to access more difficult nests and that he would send the details to Roddie.

Action: Ben to send details of smaller vacuums to Roddie.

Exit Strategy
15. Roddie explained that triggers needed to be identified when attempts to eradicate should cease and a change to managing the pest should commence.  He wanted to make the OMT aware that this was a subject which needed to be addressed at a future meeting.  He added that he would speak to the Commission’s Economists about an Appraisal Assessment and asked the OMT to consider the matter.

Action:Roddie to speak to Economists about and Appraisal Assessment.
OMT to consider when to cease attempts to eradicate and move to managing the pest.

Agenda Item 8: Any Other Business

16. No other business was raised.

Agenda Item 9: Date of Next Meeting

17. The OMT agreed that the next meeting should be scheduled at the end of the spray season in late June/early July.

Action: Debbie to schedule the Sixth Meeting of the OPM OMT in late June/early July at Riverwalk House, London

Summary of Actions

Agenda Item 3: Matters arising

Team members to provide action plans and relevant costs to Roddie.

OPM Landowners’ Meeting

Barry to send Roddie a copy of his presentation for distribution to the Team and for publishing on the website.

Roddie to form a Programme Action Group.
Monique to speak to Tony Kirkham about leading the Group.

Agenda Item 4: Update on Statutory Controls - Paper OPM 01/10

Roddie to make the necessary amendments to the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005.

Agenda Item 5: Review of Action Plan - Paper OPM 09/06

Ralph to produce a standard operating procedure.
Ben to re-draft the Action Plan to include all boroughs and distribute to Team members.

Agenda Item 7: Next Steps

Training for Surveys
Ralph, Ben, Mike and Jeremy to co-ordinate training for surveys.

Research
Ben to send details of smaller vacuums to Roddie.

Exit Strategy
Roddie to speak to Economists about and Appraisal Assessment.
OMT to consider when to cease attempts to eradicate and move to managing the pest.

Agenda Item 9: Date of Next Meeting

Debbie to schedule the Sixth Meeting of the OPM OMT in late June, Riverwalk House, London.