Ash Dieback branches out through Cumbria

Cumbria County Council is informing residents of the disease Ash Dieback (also known as Hymenoscyphus fraxineus), that is within Cumbria, which will affect some trees in the county.

Ash Dieback affects Ash trees. It is the worst tree disease since the Dutch Elm outbreak in the late 1970s, which effectively wiped out mature Elms from the British landscape.

The fungal infection is widespread in the UK. There is no cure for the disease, once first infected through the leaves or twigs, the speed at which a tree is overcome varies.

Young trees are more suspectable and die within a couple of years, 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.

The council’s tree specialists have been surveying Cumbria’s Resilient Road Networks, (most As, some Bs and C roads) to gather data and record where Ash trees are and what level of infection they are showing. This information helps to prioritise any action required, such as felling, maintenance or further inspections.

To date 5326 Ash trees have been surveyed, both on the highway and close by on private land which may affect the highways network. Of this, 1102 (21%) have been identified as severely diseased and require action to protect the highways network.

Cumbria County Council are working closely with districts, boroughs and parish councils, as well as members of the public who own Ash trees close to public highways.

The county council are contacting landowners who have an Ash tree on their property or land, that is infected and could be dangerous, so that the landowner can organise appropriate companies to manage the infected trees, to ensure it does not become a risk to other people or property.

For more information about the disease and how to spot it, please go to the Woodland Trust website.

If landowners have received a letter regarding felling Ash trees and need more assistance, please either go to our website or contact Cumbria Highways on 0300 303 2992.

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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