This year's potato crop faces a serious threat from a new strain of blight, the British Potato Council has warned.

The BPC said it had found a new aggressive genotype, which was dominating the blight population and threatening crops in the early stages of development.

'Genotype 13' can cause massive damage to crops if growers do not pursue a particularly vigilant blight control strategy, BPC stressed.

Growers currently spend some £20m on fungicides each year to tackle blight, which presented a huge problem during last year's wet summer.