22 May 2023| | 2 min read
Programme under way to tackle ash dieback
A programme of tree felling and pruning has got under way in Newcastle as a deadly fungal disease spreads across the UK.
Ash dieback, also known as Chalara, can cause trees to lose their leaves, shed their branches and in some cases causes them to die.
In September last year, Newcastle City Council began inspecting all the city’s ash trees to identify what levels of infection they were showing.
Now, a programme is under way to remove those which have succumbed to the disease and pose a safety risk.
The programme is expected to last several years and will include the felling of individual trees or large numbers in a single location.
The Council will inspect the city’s ash trees annually to monitor their condition and will only remove those when it is necessary to do so.
Cllr Jane Byrne, Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet member for a Connected, Clean City, said: “The impact ash dieback is having on woodlands, parks and green spaces across the UK is truly devastating.
“Sadly, there is nothing we can do to stop the disease from spreading and in a lot of cases there will be no alternative but to remove the trees.
"While it is sad to see the loss of trees in our city, public safety is our utmost priority and we must ensure that they do not become a danger to people or properties.
“To mitigate for the losses, we will work with the North East Community Forest to carry out a tree planting programme to restore the landscape so our communities continue to be the green, sustainable places we all want them to be.”
Ash dieback, originally from eastern Asia, was first identified in England in 2012 and is now affecting swathes of woodlands across the country.
It is predicted up to 80% of ash trees in the UK could be affected over the next decade.
According to the government, the majority of the trees will show some symptoms of the disease but not all will die.
It said some will have a degree of tolerance to ash dieback while others will be in locations where they will not be affected.