Tree planting scheme to replace trees lost through Ash dieback

field with new trees planted

Posted on: 25 February 2019

A tree planting scheme is underway in the Blackdown Hills to replace trees that will be lost through Ash dieback.

Devon County Council is supporting the landowner at Lower Ashculme Farm near Hemyock to plant a small copse of native, broadleaved trees and shrubs, along with a new length of species-rich hedge.

The support for this planting is the first step in the Council’s commitment to the 3-2-1 tree replacement principle, through which: three saplings will be planted for each mature tree it fells due to ash dieback; two saplings to replace a semi-mature tree; and one new sapling for each ash sapling which is lost.

Ash dieback is a highly infectious fungal tree disease which over time, is expected to result in the loss of more than 90% of Devon’s native ash trees. It is vital that replacement trees are planted as early as possible, to prevent damaging impacts to the county’s outstanding landscape and wildlife.

people planting new trees at Lower Ashculme Farm

Simon Brenman, owner of Lower Ashculme Farm, offered-up part of his land for this tree planting. He said: “We’ve been starting to see the effects of Ash dieback already here on the farm, so finding that we could get some financial assistance to help make our vision for a new copse of broadleaf trees into a reality was all we needed to kick into action. It’s brilliant to be able to do something positive in the face of bad news about the environment and we are now getting ready to plant out and protect all the young trees and hedging plants. We’ve chosen a mix of native broadleaf trees and shrubs that are typical for the Blackdowns and carefully selected to be as wildlife friendly as possible, producing flowers (for pollinators), berries and seeds over a long period. It’s feels great to be creating an ecological haven that will be here long after we are gone, and we are really grateful for the help.”

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Environment, said: “With Devon County Council being forced to removed diseased Ash trees which threaten public safety, especially those for which it has responsibility alongside main roads, we have explored options for some early tree replacement. Working with Simon and his family will demonstrate how we are complying with the Devon Ash dieback 3-2-1 tree replacement principle and hopefully it might encourage others to do likewise.”

Councillor Ray Radford

Councillor Ray Radford, Devon County Councillor for Willand and Uffculme, said: “It’s great to have this opportunity to support the landowner in creating a wildlife rich area that contributes to the natural character of the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Ash dieback is expected to have a major impact on our landscape over the next decade so we are keen to establish a copse with a mixed species to help make up for the trees that will be lost.”

Tim Youngs, Manager of the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, said: “Ash is a very important component of the Blackdown Hills AONB and working with local communities to help make hedges, copses and woodland in this nationally protected landscape more resilient to the many challenges that they face is vital.”

The Blackdown Hills Woodlands Association and Woodland Trust have been involved in advising on the proposals, which the Blackdown Hills AONB Team will help to implement alongside the landowner.

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Posted in: DCC Homepage | Environment