Ash dieback infected trees near Bickleigh to be felled

Road closed signRoad closed sign

Posted on: 22 January 2018

Around 60 trees with Ash dieback will be felled in Mid Devon for safety reasons at the start of next month.

Devon County Council will close the A396 north of Bickleigh on Sunday 4 February from 8am to 4pm in order to remove diseased trees from alongside the highway to maintain public safety.

The work will continue on Monday 5 February, when the A3072 will be closed from Bickleigh to Northdown Road, near Cadbury, from 9:30am to 3:30pm. On Tuesday 6 February the A396 will be closed south of Bickleigh, from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Signed diversions will be in place.

Private landowners have been informed that the County Council has offered to carry out the work on their behalf, to mitigate their responsibility and minimise disruption to the travelling public but they will need to bear their share of the cost.

Private land owners have a responsibility to take reasonable care to ensure that trees outside the highway boundary, but within falling distance, are safe.

To date, Devon County Council has dealt with 22 roadside trees infected with Ash dieback, or Chalara, but it may have to remove around 7,000 of its own trees in the coming years.

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The County Council is taking a carefully managed, proactive approach towards dealing with this issue. Public safety on the highway has to be the priority and we are balancing that with environmental considerations. Every effort will be made to keep the disruption caused by the road closures to a minimum but it’s essential this work is done in order to keep road users safe. It may well be that we will see more trees felled over time, as the disease develops, but it is still early days at the moment.”

Cllr Margaret Squires

Councillor Margaret Squires, Devon County Councillor for Creedy, Taw and Mid Exe, said: “This area near Bickleigh was found to be a high risk area for Ash dieback and the trees being felled need to be removed sooner rather than later. We would urge all private landowners to take responsibility to ensure the safety of others by inspecting the condition of the canopy cover of their own trees when they are in leaf.”

The Ashley Recycling Centre, near Tiverton, will not be accessible during the road closure on Sunday 4 February. Businesses in Bickleigh will still be accessible throughout all of the closures, but not via the closed roads.

Although Ash dieback is in its early stages in Devon, it is thought that the majority of Ash trees in the county will succumb to the disease, and the County Council will resume its tree inspections in the spring.

Devon County Council established the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum two years ago to consider the long term approach to tackling the disease. It has been leading on it in partnership with organisations including the Arboricultural Association, Devon AONBs, Clinton Devon Estates, Country Landowners Association, Devon Hedge Group, Devon Wildlife Trust, Dartmoor National Park, East Devon District Council, Forestry Commission, Highways England, National Trust, National Farmers Union, Network Rail, North Devon Council, RSPB, The Tree Council, Torbay Council, Plymouth City Council, and Western Power Distribution.

The County Council will be carrying out further inspections on its public areas across Devon to gain a more detailed understanding of work that may be required in future. It will be using its regular inspections of trees along A-roads to continue to assess the extent of the problem.

Further surveys will be carried out to provide a detailed understanding of further work that may be required in future. Any trees found to be in an imminently dangerous condition would be removed within 24 hours, which may require an emergency road closure.

For more information go to https://new.devon.gov.uk/environment/wildlife/invasives-and-disease/ash-dieback

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Posted in: DCC Homepage | Environment