Ash Dieback in National Forest

The first cases of Ash Dieback Disease have been found in the National Forest in North West Leicestershire. In excess of 1.5 million trees could be affected.

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National Forest affected by the ash dieback outbreak

A young ash tree suffering from the effects of ash dieback at the National Forest in Leicestershire Credit: ITV News Central

ITV News Central have been to the location of an outbreak of ash dieback in Leicestershire. The disease is a major blow for the National Forest, as up to 20% of all trees there are ash.

Ash dieback causes ash trees to initially lose their leaves. Without leaves the trees cannot access sunlight which provides the plant with nutrients to grow.

The disease is a fungus which affects ash trees causing them to wither and die Credit: ITV News Central

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Ash Dieback affecting Leicestershire National Forest

The first cases of the tree disease Ash Dieback have been found within Leicestershire's National Forest. Trees ranging from five to seventeen years old have been found to be affected at three sites near to Albert Village in North West Leicestershire.

Ash Dieback now affects more than 550 locations across the country. It is estimated that Ash forms 15 – 20% of The National Forest tree stock which equates to in excess of 1.5 million trees which could be affected by the disease.

Ash is native to the British Isles and mainland Europe Credit: ITV News Central

Ash dieback was first observed in Poland in 1992 and has since spread to 21 European countries. There is no known cure for the airborne fungal disease.

Ash trees are a key component of Britain's ecologically unique woodlands and their loss could have a dramatic negative impact on the natural environment.

The disease causes leaf loss, bark lesions and crown dieback especially in young trees. Credit: ITV News Central