THE palm tree plague which has wreaked havoc in public and private gardens in Pollensa has reached such proportions that the costs of dealing with it will have to be assumed by the regional ministry for Agriculture, local Mayor Joan Cerdà said yesterday.
The disease, caused by a small red beetle has resulted in widespread destruction of trees leading to deterioration of landscaped property.
All palms in the municipality of Pollença are under threat from it said Cerdà, presenting a report compiled by technicians on the depth of the damage sustained.
The report makes specific reference to the fact that it will need to be the Balearic government who makes compensation to landowners whose palms have fallen prey to the plague.
Recommendations also state that when it comes to taking preventive measures against the plague, the local council needs to solicit and pay for horticultural assistance to treat trees on public land, but that private garden owners will need to finance their own defences against the spread of the disease.
When the local council first became aware that the palm disease was highly virulent and could spread easily from one tree to another, local authorities made it known publicly that council technicians had the right to approach private landowners to check whether or not the palm trees in their gardens were affected.
Although technicians may still investigate the extent to which the beetle has infiltrated private gardens, any measures to stop the spread of the plague on private land will need to be borne by the owners.
Addressing the Agricultural department, Cerdà said that until now it has been the council in Pollensa which has undertaken the removal of dead palms which have been stacked and sealed off on a country property in Llenaire. But because the disease continues to run rampant, the council can no longer afford the manpower and haulage that is needed to dispose of the dead palms. The task must fall to the government, he claimed. Cerdà acknowledged however, that Pollensa council will continue to solicit horiticultural advice on how best to stop the spread of the plague and that municipal funds will pay for the technical assistance.