Ash Dieback disease affects thousands of trees in Cumbria
A fungal tree disease has been detected in Cumbria.
Ash Dieback, also known as Hymenoscyphus fraxineus affects ash trees, and is the worst tree disease since the Dutch Elm outbreak in the late 1970s, which effectively wiped out mature Elms from the British landscape.
There is no cure for the disease, and once the leaves or twigs of a tree are infected, the speed at which a tree is overcome can vary.
Young trees are more susceptible and die within a couple of years, whereas mature trees usually take longer and can also succumb to secondary fungal infections.
Large trees can become dangerous as a result of both Ash Dieback and the secondary infection long before they die.
Cumbria County Council’s tree specialists have been surveying Cumbria’s Resilient Road Networks to gather data and record where Ash trees are and what level of infection they are displaying. This information helps to prioritise any action required, such as felling, maintenance or further inspections.
So far 5,326 Ash trees have been surveyed, both on the highway and on private land which may affect the highways network.
Of the trees surveyed so far, 1,102 (21%) have been identified as severely diseased and require action to protect the highways network.
The county council is working closely with districts, boroughs and parish councils, as well as members of the public who own Ash trees close to public highways.
The council is contacting landowners who have an Ash tree on their property or land that is infected and could be dangerous, so that the landowner can make arrangements to manage the infected trees, to ensure it does not become a risk to other people or property.
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: "This is very sad news for the UK and also for Cumbria and is out of everyone’s control.
"Ash trees are one of the most prominent trees in gardens, fields and hedges, and we now need urgent action by the owners of infected trees to ensure they don't become a danger to people or property.
"All trees should be regularly inspected for safety by a suitably qualified arboriculturist but if you own Ash trees it will be useful to learn how to recognise the symptoms of the disease so that you are well prepared to deal with it as early as possible.
"We are suggesting that you go to the Woodland Trust website as they have gathered lots of information about the disease and how to spot it.
"Our priority is public safety, and I would like to thank members of the public, districts, boroughs and parish councils who own ash trees, for their co-operation in felling the infected trees."
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