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Preventing the spread of ash dieback

Published
11.09.2020

Highway crews are carrying out essential work around the county to remove unsafe trees infected with ash dieback.

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Ash dieback is a disease that causes leaf loss and dying branches, and can lead to the death of a tree. The disease attacks ash trees quickly and there currently is no prevention or treatment available.

Ash dieback can spread up to tens of miles by wind-blown spores or by trees growing too close to infected ash trees. To prevent ash dieback from spreading, we need to cut down the diseased trees to stop more ash trees from becoming diseased.

Ash dieback damages tree’s limbs and causes them to become unsafe. These diseased trees have an increased risk of collapsing which can be dangerous, especially if they fall on a road.

Ash trees are very common in Gloucestershire, and it’s estimated between 27,000 to 32,000 GCC Highways trees will require attention over the coming years.

Road closures will be in place where work is being carried out and these closures will be clearly signposted.

A wide scale tree planting programme is being developed as part of the county council’s climate change strategy. The Million Trees Challenge is our aspiration to increase tree coverage in the county by 2030, working with members of the Local Nature Partnership. Currently, suitable areas for tree planting are being identified and a strategy on tree planting will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting in October. We expect to see the first trees planted later this year.  

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Cutting down any tree is a huge loss to our county’s biodiversity, but this is something we must do to stop more trees becoming diseased. We are fully committed to stopping this disease, saving as many trees as we can and undertaking a programme of tree planting throughout the county.”

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