Consultation to revoke the Watermark Disease (Local Authorities) Order 1974 (SI 1974 No. 768)

Closed 24 Aug 2014

Opened 4 Jun 2014

Results updated 16 Mar 2015

We have carefully considered the views expressed via the consultation and the scientific evidence on the epidemiology of the disease and its presence in the environment.  As a principle Government will regulate only to achieve its policy objectives and where the original policy objectives have changed or are no longer relevant, the measure should be allowed to expire (or be repealed). Equally, if the measure has not had a significant beneficial impact in line with the original policy objectives, the presumption should be that it is allowed to expire (or be repealed). The Watermark Disease Order does not achieve its original policy objective and does not provide a significant beneficial impact so we have concluded that we should revoke the Order. A Statutory Instrument to revoke the Watermark Disease Order was made on the 16th March 2015 and it is anticipated that this will have effect from 1st July 2015.

Please find the consultation response for download below.



The consultation (which took place between 4 June and 24 August 2014) on the future of the Watermark Disease Order was a straight Yes or No vote, with the option of supporting your position with additional information. No alternative option or course of action was proposed in the consultation. Local authorities no longer exercise their statutory powers, and the disease remains present within the wider environment. Scientific opinion is that while eradication is not feasible it is possible to reduce the disease’s impact through management practices. 

An entry for Watermark Disease has recently been added to the UK Plant Health Risk Register, and this concludes that statutory action is no longer necessary. It is consistent with the Government’s Plant Health Strategy for industry to decide how best to respond to threats from a pest which is not a priority for statutory action.


  • Landowner / manager
  • Wood processor - including timber and woodfuel production


  • Timber, wood products and woodfuel
  • Woodland management