Simon Richmond, Senior Technical Officer
Back in March the Association launched a survey of industry to explore the impact of Oak Processionary Moth (OPM), in particular to gather information on any health effects suffered by arborists who come into contact with OPM as part of their day-to-day work. This initiative is a joint project undertaken with Forest Research.
We wanted to understand the level of knowledge and awareness of OPM in the wider industry and who had encountered it as part of their work. Of those that have come into contact with infected trees, either as a planned operation or incidentally, the survey aims to capture the extent, severity and longterm effects that this tree pest is having on individuals and the personal and commercial consequences resulting from it. Thank you to all those who took the time to complete the survey, which will provide valuable information to help inform future policy, guidance and training in managing OPM in the future.
Findings so far
The survey closed on 17 April and at time of writing we have not completed the detailed analysis, which will be published on the Association’s website in due course. However, Forest Research has provided the following initial findings.
Over 200 people responded, of whom 90% are based in England, with approximately 5% in both Scotland and Wales. Of those that responded, just over half had encountered OPM and, of those, just over a third reported suffering negative health effects, with a rash the most commonly reported health effect.
There is much more detail to be collated and analysed from the survey results and this work will be carried out over the next few weeks.
This article was taken form Issue 189 Summer 2020 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.