The threat to Britain’s ash trees is not just the result of Ministers’ failure to heed the Horticultural Trade Association’s and ecologists’ warnings, it is also due to arrogance that puts the economy over ecology every time.

Free trade in trees and plants, without effective-enough scientific assessment of the risks to the environment, is an unacceptable aspect of globalisation, and we are now beginning to see its terrible consequences. But, worse still, we are short of the botanists and plant pathologists needed to provide the scientific tools to do the job of fighting this and future threats to our trees.