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UPDATED REPORT AS AT MAY 2016

  1. The emergency felling carried out last summer was designed to reduce the number of galls (and the wasps they contained) present on sweet chestnut and hence reduce the chances of spreading as wasps emerged in July.
  2. In order to further reduce the chance of spread further coppicing was anticipated over the winter of 2015-16. The premise being that we were unlikely to have dealt with every gall and any wasps emerging from those galls would  have laid eggs on chestnut nearby.
  3. This work was reinforced by:
    1. the use of ‘sticky’ traps (which were set to capture a sample of flying wasps);
    2. computer modelling of likely distribution; and
    3. surveys in November, when we found that some leaves were retained around buds distorted by galls after other leaves dropped normally, hence we inspected for hanging leaves and found galls further into the wood.
  4. Consequently a Statutory Plant Health Notice was issued asking Sevenoaks District Council to coppice a further 10 hectares over the winter 2015-16 (copy attached).
  5. Sevenoaks engaged a local contractor and coppicing has been progressing well and we hope will be completed no later than the end of May (ideally this would have been completed earlier but wet ground conditions delayed progress).
  6. In March we took samples of the sweet chestnut regrowth post last summers emergency felling and carried out tests to identify any signs of OCGW in the buds (where adult wasps emerging from any galls, which had not been destroyed, would have laid eggs). We were very pleased that no signs of OCGW were found.
  7. Forestry Commission surveyors will shortly start to survey again for new galls on the fresh buds.

Matthew Woodcock
Partnership and Expertise Manager South East
Forestry Commission – South East & London

UPDATED REPORT AS AT 5th AUGUST 2016

5th August 2016 -Latest Update

The Parish Council had received the following update on the control of the Gall Wasp:

  1. The mulch pile which is of concern to the Environment Agency – Forestry Commission are arranging for a contractor to clear at their expense.

  2. Coppicing under the pylons – has been completed – making a total of some 25 acres (10 hectares) cleared. This relates to approximately 15% of the area of Farningham Woods.

  3. Scout Camp area – coppicing will now start adjacent to the ride running up from the mulch pile past the Scout Camp.

  4. Scouts – Sevenoaks District Council (SDC) will be talking to the Scouts about clearance on their land.

  5. BBC – SDC understand that the Forestry Commission will be speaking to BBC on site today (5 Aug) about the work that has gone on to try to halt the spread of the Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp.

  6. Regrowth – Forestry Commission has instructed that SDC has no longer to to cut and burn the regrowth on coppicing (stools) undertaken last year.

  7. Clearing the timber – SDC are awaiting clearance from Forestry Commission to remove cut timber off the site. The problem seems to be that some trunks may have some leaves attached and they need to be confident that any galls not burned along with the top growth are going to be destroyed by the purchaser’s production processes.

  8. Long-term control – Department for Food & Rural Affairs and Forestry Commission are considering the introduction of a gall wasp parasite, but this may not be for three or more years.