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Richard North, 03/11/2012  


Peeping from behind the paywall, we see The Times tell us that it is "impossible to track infected ash trees”. EU rules and "the sheer volume of imports" make tracking ash saplings brought in from infected countries almost impossible.

The Guardian amplifies this, arguing for "rigorous border checks on the billions of trees and plants imported into Britain and Europe from around the world every year for parks, gardens, woodlands and forests".

"There is a tidal wave of pathogens coming in", says Martin Ward, chief plant health officer at Defra's Food and Environment Research Agency. "It is terrifying. We have to have a strategic response. Unless we have better biosecurity in the EU and Europe it will be very difficult to stop them coming in. It is difficult to ban all imports. It has to be done on a risk basis".

And there you are. "It is difficult to ban all imports …". Another benefit of the EU – to ignore the fact that we are an island, and the benefits that go with it, to adopt a Continental system of control, that doesn't work anyway.

This is the brilliant "Single Market" that Mr Cameron loves so much. We are so lucky we have it … no trees, but we can have open borders for dead wood. At least we'll have something to burn when the electricity runs out.

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