Video“My tree, my responsibility” campaign launched to tackle Ash dieback

Photo of Ash dieback infected trees being removed Ash dieback

Posted on: 8 July 2019

A new campaign has been launched to encourage landowners with ash trees on their property to inspect them for Ash dieback.

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.

More than 90% of Devon’s native ash trees are expected to be lost due to Ash dieback in the next five to 15 years.

Across the county there are around 448,000 ash trees within falling distance of the highway that are owned by third parties or on unregistered land. The overall cost of felling all of these ash trees could be more than £70 million.

Devon County Council surveys have estimated that it will potentially have to remove around 6,300 of its own ash trees from highway land across the county, which would cost the authority around £2.5 million to fell.

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “It is essential that Devon’s roads are as safe as possible and we are regularly monitoring and inspecting trees alongside our highways in order to keep the network as safe as possible. We would encourage landowners to do the same, as they need to be aware that trees on their land are their responsibility. If any trees are found to be a safety hazard, we would urge them to please take appropriate action.”

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Environment, said: “We need landowners to take a proactive approach to managing this highly infectious tree disease. Once Ash dieback has infected an ash tree, it will shed branches and limbs, or the whole tree can be at risk of collapse.

“All landowners should ensure that any trees on their land, particularly ash trees alongside public roads and rights of way, are professionally inspected while in leaf to determine how urgently they might need attention. We also need communities and landowners to establish new plantings of different tree species to replace ash trees that will be lost.”

Devon County Council leads the Devon Ash Dieback Forum, which was established in 2016 to address the risks of the disease.

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.

As part of its tree replacement programme, the authority has supported the planting of a small copse of native, broadleaved trees and shrubs, along with a new length of species-rich hedge at Lower Ashculme Farm, near Hemyock.

For more information visit the Devon Ash Dieback website.

2 comments on ““My tree, my responsibility” campaign launched to tackle Ash dieback

  1. Dr Alan Bosley says:

    All very well.The publlic enjoy the benefits of trees and woodland. There are many public footpaths through private land.
    Land owners with public footpaths cannot close them, yet bear the responsibility for public safety whilst the public use these paths – hardly fair
    1. Footpath users should walk as on the coastal path at their own liability.
    2. Footpaths should be allowed to be closed for specific purposes, given notice, i.e. tree felling, undergrowth cutting, and rights of the landowner to enjoy his property e.g. shooting. and grazing stock.
    3. It should be an offence to go from affected areas to unaffected area without full biosecurity
    4 Dogs must be kept on a lead as they are probably vectors.

  2. Myc Riggulsford says:

    We reported ash dieback on our small farm in High Bickington nearly 3 years ago now, and were the first to identify it in our 1km square. All 1,000 of our newly planted ash saplings (as part of 8 acres of new woodland) appear to have the disease, though very few are actually dead yet, and some appear resistant. The biggest problem is that Defra is supposed to continue paying us our Single Payment scheme monies for the land as it is eligible under the Woodland Grant Scheme, but they keep identifying the land as woodland, removing our grants for the 8 acres and then fining us another 8 acres worth of money for overclaiming, even though a separate section of their organisation, the Forestry Commission is still paying us the annual maintenance grant. We spend hour every year trying to put this right and every year Defra mess it up again and stop our payments. We have written to our MP but he was too busy in his second job to do anything to help. We are at our wits end and driven mad by the incompetent system. It’s unsurprising that so many farmers are in despair. the best hope for climate mitigation is for all small farms to plant trees, but the system is actively against us while billionaires get their million pound annual grants on time, allowing Defra to claim that it is paying most claims promptly. They need to sort this out and prioritise small and family farms, not the richest. Then we would gladly do our bit and more. As iot is, anyone who plants trees will lose a fortune, and their sleep.

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