Control measures have been put in place to try to control the deadly Ash dieback disease that threatens to wipe out thousands of acres of UK woodland. On Monday, 29th October a ban on the import of Ash trees came into play. A task force of UK tree experts has been established to try to control the outbreak. Environment minister David Heath told MPs that 100,000 ash trees had already been destroyed to try to prevent the spread of the disease.
Mr Heath said: "On discovering Chalara in the UK, plant health authorities took immediate action to rapidly assess ash trees for signs of infection at over 1,000 sites where ash plants from Europe had been grown or planted in the last five years."
A voluntary moratorium on imports had been imposed before the government announced its temporary ban, he said.
Shadow ministers have accused the government of "dithering" over the summer and have attacked budget cuts for research into plant and tree health, a claim which is denied by Mr Heath.
Symptoms of Chalara dieback
- Diseased saplings typically display dead tops and side shoots.
- Lesions often found at base of dead side shoots.
- Lesions on branch or stem can cause wilting of foliage above.
- Disease affects mature trees by killing off new growth.