A proposal to remove Protected Zone Status in Northern Ireland for Fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) and implement buffer zone arrangements

Consultation opened on 28 June 2016. Closing date 29 July 2016.


Northern Ireland has had protected zone designation in respect of Fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) after the disease was first detected here in 1986.


Consultation description


Protected zones are areas in the EU where a specified plant pest has not been established despite suitable conditions to do so.  The geographical extent of the zones is updated regularly to take account of changes in distribution of the disease.  The relevant EU regulation is Commission Decision 690/2008 (as amended).

This protected zone designation allows NI producers of Fireblight host plants to supply these to customers in other Fireblight portected zones.  All host plants from within the EU moving in trade in Northern Ireland must have either been produced in a protected zone or a Fireblight buffer zone.  This is certified by a ZP code on the plant passport.

Why we are consulting

The number of detected outbreaks in 2015 was 87 and the map below indicates the current widespread nature of the disease in Northern Ireland.

On the basis of these results protected zone status for Northern Ireland is no longer sustainable and there is now a need to review the Fireblight protected zone status.

The Department is considering moving from a protected zone status to one of implementation of buffer zone arrangements. A buffer zone is an area surrounding a horticultural business which is maintained free of Fireblight by that business. If a business is operating within a Fireblight free buffer zone it can trade Fireblight host plants into other protected zones.

The Department is therefore proposing to:

  • relinquish protected zone status for Fireblight in Northern Ireland and implement buffer zone arrangements for those businesses wishing to trade host plants into other protected zones.

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