MP fights to save conkers

Future generations of youngsters are potentially facing the unthinkable, a childhood without the traditional British playground pastime of conkers, Lib Dem MP David Heath has said.

The Somerset MP has urged the government to help save horse chestnut trees – which produce the nuts – from possible extinction.

The Phytophthora fungus, the Tree Leaf Miner caterpillar and a new aggressive disease called Pseudomonas Syringae or Bleeding Canker have attacked the tree, placing conkers on the endangered species list.

Mr Heath called for action, saying: “I want to make sure that any action that can be taken to contain or reverse the spread of this disease is being taken.

“I don’t want a generation of children to grow up without ever seeing a conker,” he added.
Some estimates suggest that anything between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of trees are infected, and the situation is worst in the south west and south east of England.