Oak Processionary Moth Workshop, 05 June 2019
Lynn Whitfield, South East Section Committee
Sixteen people, including woodland managers, ecological consultants and arborists attended this Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) Workshop, held at the City of London estate office on Ashtead Common. Millie Toft, the Forestry Commission’s OPM Support Officer, gave an update on the biology, identification and history of this pest in the UK, as well as current management guidelines and likely future directions. This was followed by case studies from Zuza Featherstone, ranger for Ashtead Common, and Hamish White, Countryside Officer for Elmbridge Borough Council, highlighting the increasingly challenging and costly management of OPM on their sites, and their strategies for dealing with this. The zone of infestation is spreading rapidly outwards from its original focus in London, and management in areas with high invertebrate interest such as Ashtead Common SSSI is a particular issue: spraying is not an option, as the pesticides used are not specific to OPM. A lively Q&A session followed the talks, with the morning rounded off by a walk on the Common to view trees infested by OPM, which were all too easy to find.