In June 2020, Gloucestershire County Council, launched the Ash Dieback project to tackle the effects of the disease within the county. The project is being undertaken in joint partnership with the adjoining landowners, the National Trust and Cotswold AONB.
So far, 3,057 dangerous ash trees have been removed during the first year of the project. By the end of 2021, we expect to have removed 3,300 infected ash trees.
Ash dieback is a disease that causes leaf loss and dying branches, and can lead to the death of a tree. The disease attacks ash trees quickly and there currently is no prevention or treatment available.
Ash dieback damages a tree’s limbs and causes them to become unsafe. These diseased trees have an increased risk of collapsing which can be dangerous, especially if they fall on a road.
Surveys of areas where trees have been felled are showing positive results with lots of signs of natural regeneration which is great for the county’s biodiversity.
During February and March 2021, we plan to replant 7,780 trees and 2,410 hedging plants; either planted by our Ash Dieback teams or through providing young trees to Parish Councils. We are also aiming to replant at least 7,000 more trees during autumn and winter this year.
Replanting will focus on the right tree in the right place and we have already identified some opportunities to replant on and off the highway.
Parish and town councils have also been contacted to help identify suitable sites or planting areas in their locality.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Cutting down any tree is a huge loss to our county’s biodiversity, but this is something we must do to stop more ash trees becoming diseased. We are fully committed to stopping this disease and saving as many trees as we can. Undertaking a major programme of replanting two trees for each infected ash tree felled will also help us reach our target of becoming a carbon neutral county.”
Further information about the Ash Dieback project is available at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ash-dieback.