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Charities & Experts Need To Have Their Say On Damaging Moth Spraying, says Labour's Victoria Groulef

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Labour's Victoria Groulef is calling for environmental charities and experts to be involved in discussions about how Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) will be tackled locally over the coming year.

For the past two years woodland near Pangbourne has been sprayed aerially from helicopters to eradicate the non-native OPM. A copse - which has special scientific interest status due to its rare butterfly and moth population – was also sprayed.
 
The Forestry Commission has come under extensive criticism from environmental experts and charities who have said that the pesticide used has had a damaging impact on the local environment.
 
Many experts have claimed that spot spraying rather than aerial spraying would be just as effective at eradicating OPM but would be less damaging to the wider environment.
 
Over the past two years Victoria, the parliamentary candidate in Reading West, has been calling for greater transparency on how OPM is tackled as well as calling for greater public consultation and information.
 
Victoria said: "It is at this time of year the Forestry Commission starts to examine if they will repeat the spraying in the spring. This takes into account the number of male Oak Processionary Moths found in pheromone traps towards the end of the previous summer.
 
"I am calling on the Forestry commission to take into consideration the research and views of environmental charities and their experts.  Ideally some of the experts should be invited to sit on the OPM panel which makes recommendations on what action should take place to eradicate this non-native pest.
 
“If they do plan to spray again next year, now would also be a good time to have a series of public meetings so that local people can be informed of the rationale behind any decision."

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