Environment

Ash dieback infected trees near Bickleigh to be felled

Photo ofd an Ash tree with Ash dieback being felledAsh dieback tree being felled

Posted on: 13 March 2020

Almost 200 Ash dieback infected trees in Mid Devon will be felled later this month (March).

Devon County Council has identified 190 infected trees in the Bickleigh area that need to be removed for safety reasons.

The County Council has been liaising with private landowners and will carry out the tree felling on their behalf in order to minimise disruption to the travelling public. Previous felling work in the Bickleigh area in February 2018 removed around 60 trees.

To date, Devon County Council has dealt with over 1,000 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.

Devon County Council’s “My tree, my responsibility” campaign, supported by the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum, aims to inform owners of trees to look out for signs of the fungal tree disease and to take any appropriate action in order to maintain public safety.

To enable this latest work to be undertaken, and to minimise disruption, the following road closures will be in place:

RoadDate of closureTime of closure
A396 North of Bickleigh

Monday 23 March to Tuesday 24 March

Tuesday 14 April to Thursday 16 April (3 days)

9:30am to 3pm
A396 between Bickleigh and Burn

Wednesday 25 March to Friday 27 March (3 days)

9.30am to 3pm
A3072 between Bickleigh and Northdown Road

Saturday 28 March to Sunday 29 March

6am to 5pm both days

———————————————————————————————————-

Diversions will be signed via the A3072, A377 and A396 and vice versa.

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Access to properties will be maintained when it is safe to do so and businesses in Bickleigh will still be accessible throughout all of the closures, but not via the closed roads.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “Public safety is of paramount importance so it’s vital that we fell these trees to ensure they don’t present any risk to anyone travelling on our road network. For safety reasons the roads running past these trees need to be closed while felling is taking place but every effort will be made to keep the disruption to a minimum.”

Photo of Councillor Margaret Squires

Councillor Margaret Squires

Councillor Margaret Squires, Devon County Councillor for Creedy, Taw and Mid Exe, said: “The Bickleigh area has been hit extremely hard by Ash dieback, and we need to ensure we stay on top of the situation by felling trees that need to be removed. We’re keen for private landowners to work with us to regularly inspect their trees and make sure they’re as safe as possible.”

The Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum was established by Devon County Council in 2016 to consider the long-term approach to tackling the disease. The authority 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 is committed to replacing trees lost through Ash dieback. It has adopted a 3-2-1 tree replacement principle, where three saplings will be planted for each mature tree it fells due to Ash dieback, two saplings will replace a semi-mature tree, and one new sapling will be planted for each ash sapling lost. Devon is supporting local parishes to plant trees on highway land if certain criteria is met, such as no visibility splays being obstructed, no underground services exist, the right trees in the right position and long term responsibility for them is picked up by the local parish. Trees won’t be re-planted immediately in Bickleigh while Ash dieback is still prevalent in the area.

For more information go to the County Council’s website.

Posted in: Community | Environment