The Forestry Commission has today (Wednesday, June 5) announced the expansion of the current bark beetle demarcated area following a discovery of the pest in East Anglia.

The Ips typographus tree pest, also known as the eight-toothed spruce bark beetle, was discovered on Norway spruce in East Anglia near the end of last month.

From next Wednesday (June 12), requirements will come into force across an extended, larger demarcated area in the South East of England and East Anglia to prevent potential spread of the pest.

The existing demarcated area, last extended in 2022, covers parts of Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, City of London, Greater London, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent, Essex and Hampshire.

After findings of the bark beetle were reported to Forestry Commission, the extended zone will now cover parts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk.

The Forestry Commission is urging woodland manager, landowners and the wider forestry industry to remain vigilant for the pest, which can cause “significant damage to Great Britain’s forestry and timber industries”.

The eight-toothed spruce bark beetle is a serious pest of spruce trees in Europe and was first identified in the UK in Kent in 2018.

It prefers stressed or dying trees but under the right conditions it can attack healthy trees.

Demarcated area guidelines

Within the demarcated areas, the felling and movement of all spruce material, including trees and wood with bark, isolated bark, and wood chip with bark, is prohibited unless authorised by the Forestry Commission.

Woodland managers must provide written notification to the Forestry Commission if they intend to fell or kill any trees of the genus Picea A. Dietr over three metres in height.

Additionally, processing of spruce material which has originated in the demarcated area may only be undertaken at premises authorised by the Forestry Commission to receive this material.

There is also a prohibition of susceptible material being left in situ, unless authorised in writing by a plant health inspector.

The Forestry Commission said it continues to robustly manage this pest and prevent its establishment within Great Britain.

Landowners, managers and timber processors are encouraged to continue to check the health of spruce trees on their land especially as temperatures rise and the flight season begins.

Any suspected findings of the beetle can be reported using the online portal TreeAlert.

Forestry Commission spokesperson Andrea Deol said: “Following a report of Ips typographus to the Forestry Commission in East Anglia.

“We conducted a swift investigation including rapid eradication measures, 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. It is important for landowners to continue to check the health of spruce trees on their land, this is particularly important now we are entering the next flight season.”