The Head Ranger to be heard.
The Head Ranger was heard regarding Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) and the following points were made.
· The Head Ranger noted that there had been exponential expansion of OPM on Ashtead Common with six nests in 2016, 16 in 2017, 244 in 2018, and an estimated 1000 nests expected in 2019. This rate of expansion had been a game changer in terms of how OPM was being managed by officers – the focus was now on removal of identified nests.
· In response to a question, the Head Ranger confirmed that OPM had an impact on veteran tree management, The City’s veteran tree contractor was upskilling his team with view to improving the efficiency of their approach to OPM.
· The Head Ranger confirmed that nest removal was being prioritised in areas of public risk i.e. near footpaths.
· A Member noted his concern on the impact on staff of the requirement to identify and map the scale of OPM on the Common.