The Forestry Commission has confirmed the presence of Ips typographus, or the spruce bark beetle, in East Anglia.

Forestry Commission spokesperson Andrea Deol said a “swift investigation” is being conducted including “rapid eradication measures”.

This is being done alongside wider environment surveillance to determine the scale of the issue and identify additional suitable management actions.

“All landowners, managers and timber processors should remain vigilant for Ips typographus,” Deol said.

“It is important for landowners to continue to check the health of Spruce trees on their land, especially as temperatures rise and we enter the next flight season.”

Tree health

Earlier this month, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced £4 million in funding for a new research and containment facility to tackle emerging threats to tree health.

The new facility will be at the UK’s Forest Research Alice Holt Research Station in Surrey, and will aim to better equip the country in managing risks posed by pests and pathogens.

Defra said the battle against tree-disease spreading beetles such as the Emerald ash borer and the larger eight-toothed spruce bark beetle will be strengthened by the funding.

The facility will expand the capacity of the existing Holt containment laboratory by almost double.

This will boost capability to study pests and pathogens in a contained and controlled environment – enhancing national response and facilitating safe international trade, Defra said.

Statistics released by Forest Research show there were 2350 tree pests and diseases reported via the TreeAlert service from April 2023-March 2024.

Biosecurity minister Lord Douglas-Miller said: “The UK is a world leader in tree health and biosecurity and today we are going further in boosting our armoury to combat tree pests and diseases and manage emerging threats.

“We are committed to protecting the country’s tree health and maintaining biosecurity to ensure our trees and woodlands are resilient to fight climate change. Building on the existing vital work of Alice Holt will be a key part to achieving this.”