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Tree Health Officer tackles deadly disease

A Tree Health Officer has been employed by the Forestry Commission to tackle a deadly disease that has wiped out forests in Europe.

Steve Morgan has been recording instances of Ash Dieback in the South of Scotland. Jenny Longden went to meet him.

How to spot Ash Dieback

Diamond shaped legions in a tree with Ash Dieback Credit: ITV Border

Members of the public are being asked to help a Tree Health Officer to record instances of Ash Dieback in the South of Scotland.

Steve Morgan is surveying the region for the disease, which kills Ash trees.

Among the symptoms are:

  • Discolouration of tree trunk
  • Diamond shaped lesions in bark
  • Leaf loss
  • Crown dieback

Anyone looking to report suspected cases of ash dieback can report it at


Tree Health Officer brought in to target Ash Dieback

Steve Morgan has been tasked with recording instances of Ash Dieback in the region. Credit: ITV Border

A tree health officer is being employed in the Scottish Borders to record cases of a deadly disease.

Steve Morgan has been tasked with recording instances of Ash Dieback in the region.

The Forestry Commission hope to use land surveys to shape policy on how to deal with the spread of the disease.

It was first discovered in the UK in 2012 but Steve Morgan says it's currently unclear how widespread it is.

What we are finding with the surveys so far is that there is no rhyme nor reason or logic to the disease in terms of levels of infection, how many trees are infected in a stand.

We simply don't know how widespread it is yet, and how the disease is going to progress. In Europe it can hit some of the stands and really hit them quite severely. We are in a very infancy stage. We are in a research stage of finding out".

– Steve Morgan, tree health officer

It's neigh problem for horses

All things equine are being celebrated when the Borders Festival of the Horse gets underway this week, and one of the attractions is going to be workhorses.

Horse logging has been making a resurgence across Cumbria and southern Scotland and the Forestry Commission is hoping that seeing it in action might encourage woodland owners to take up the reins too.

Hannah McNulty reports:

A bid to swap horse power for horse power

It's claimed traditional methods can be better for the environment Credit: ITV Border

Woodland owners and managers are being urged to take up traditional horse logging.

It was practised for hundreds of years before being replaced by modern technology and equipment.

Cumbria and southern Scotland has seen a resurgence of the traditional method.

Woodland owners, managers and the public are being invited to an open day as part of the Borders Festival of the Horse at Glentress Forest, near Innerleithen, on Saturday 17 May, to see working horses in action.

Iain Laidlaw from the Forestry Commission Scotland says:

_"We are delighted to be working with the horse loggers. The demos are open to all ... to see why modern horse logging is often a viable option for timber harvesting. Rising fuel costs for mechanised harvesting are helping to make bio-fuelled horses even more competitive." _


Campaigners say cutbacks would damage tourism

Jack Ellerby, Friends of the Lake District Credit: ITV Border

Plans to cut spending on Britain's forests by more than a third could have a serious impact on this region according to campaigners.

In an open letter to the government department DEFRA, the Forest Campaigns Network say that cutbacks would damage the tourism industry and lead to the closure of popular local tourist attractions and car parks:

Jack ellerby, friends of the Lake District:

"The government's own figures show that public forests are worth 400 million a year to this country. They bring tourism, work to raise air quality and provide timber.

"If they are not managed and resourced properly those benefits would be lost."