The Guardia Civil should not have to face this situation now, as there is a ban on the export of trees. | Guardia Civil


Following a meeting earlier this week with the environment and agriculture minister, Vicenç Vidal, and the national government's delegate, Maria Salom, the Guardia Civil will increase controls at ports and airports in order to prevent the spread of the xylella fastidiosa bacteria (also known as olive ebola).

The precise nature of the collaboration was agreed yesterday afternoon at a further meeting involving Salom, the head of the Guardia Civil, Jaume Barceló, commanders from the Seprona environment police and the agriculture director-general, Mateu Ginard.

Salom had offered further Guardia assistance because of the concerns about the Balearic agricultural sector, although she has again reiterated that control of the pest is principally the responsibility of the regional government. Teams from the environment ministry and Seprona will work together within a framework of a previous agreement put in place following the ministerial order of 20 January which bans the export of all trees likely to be infected by olive ebola.

The Balearic Ports Authority is to also inform transport companies about restrictions on the movement of trees and plants and mechanisms that the ministry and the Guardia will adopt in the event of seizing any trees or plants.

Concerns about the potential spread to the mainland of olive ebola, which has caused massive destruction of trees in Italy, have led to calls for the Balearics to be "sacrificed". Eliminating trees on an enormous scale in the Balearics would be "petty" compared with the damage that could be caused on the mainland.