There will be no suspension of Scottish log imports, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.

Minister McConalogue was responding to a question asking his position on suspending log imports from Scotland due to the presence of the bark beetle there.

The Minister said imports of untreated coniferous roundwood with bark are only permitted from the pest free area (PFA) in the west of Scotland.

As long as this area remains pest-free, log imports will be permitted, he added.

“The pest-free status is established and maintained by the authorities in Scotland according to international standards.

“The area remains free of the great spruce bark beetle, Dendroctonous micans. For as long as this situation pertains, this trade can be permitted under the phytosanitary trade rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)/sanitary and phytosanitary agreement (SPS).

“To further protect our forests, my Department has also negotiated an agreement with the Scottish authorities to increase the area within the pest-free zone from which imports to Ireland are no longer taking place,” Minister McConalogue said.

Biosecurity measures are also in place.

Monterey pine engraver

The bark beetle that is of concern to Ireland that is in Scotland has not been found in the Scottish PFA or in this country, the Minister added.

The great spruce bark beetle found in Scotland outside the PFA, the UK and across Europe can kill spruce trees.

Another non-native bark beetle, the Monterey pine engraver, was detected in Co Clare in December.

The Department of Agriculture said this bark beetle is not thought to be a pest of economic significance for Ireland and that tests show it originated in Mexico.

Investigations on its introduction to the country and its distribution are ongoing.

Import tonnage

Figures released by the Department show there were 25,188t of logs, primarily spruce with bark, imported into Ireland from the Scottish PFA across 19 imports as of 26 April this year.

Last year, some 100,025t of logs from the Scottish PFA were imported, while, in 2022, this figure was 112,750t.