The Forestry Commission and the organizers of Rally Great Britain have moved to quell mounting speculation over the route for the final round of this year's World Rally Championship following the discovery of a tree disease in the area.
One British national rally running in the South Wales area had been postponed and there are concerns that the disease – currently close to the Rally GB Sunday stages – could force the organizers to re-route the rally.
In a joint statement, Forestry Commission Wales and the event organizers said: "Forestry Commission Wales and organizers of the Wales Rally GB have confirmed today that it's business as usual for the event which takes place from Nov. 11-14, despite the presence of a tree disease in forests which are to be used on the final day of the event."
The disease, Phytophthora ramorum, is present on Japanese larch in the Resolven forest, a stage used on the final day of the rally. In an effort to prevent the disease spreading further, the organizers will be implementing special measures, including the washing and disinfecting of competing cars during the event – and issuing spectators with instructions of how to help.
The statement continued: "Cars will be washed down with disinfectant at the end of the competitive route, before they travel to Cardiff for the ceremonial finish. Spectators will be asked to follow some simple bio-security precautions, such as keeping to paths, cleaning footwear and not taking any plant material away to minimize the spread of infection.
"Phytophthora ramorum was found on Japanese larch trees in South Wales in June. Surveys of woodlands are ongoing and, as it is likely the infection has spread further, Forestry Commission Wales and the organizers will closely monitor developments in the run-up to the rally."