Richard Shepherd’s County Councillor’s Blog
Leicestershire residents are being asked to help the County Council identify and manage diseased Ash trees , to help keep the countryside green.
The Council has a scheme to plant 700,000 trees and that is already underway, but the authority is also dealing with the problem of Ash dieback. It is a highly destructive disease caused by a fungus and can lead to infected trees shedding branches or limbs, or potentially falling as the tree dies. It is estimated that there are more than 500,000 Ash trees in Leicestershire, although the exact number is not known. Over 120,000 of them are next to roads.
As many of the trees are on private land the Council has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue among residents, businesses and landowners, to remind them of their responsibility to ensure their trees do not become a hazard to road users or people using adjacent pavements.
Ash Dieback enters a tree through the leaves and bark and young trees die within two years, but mature trees usually last longer. Large trees can become dangerous long before they die, so owners must take action to ensure safety. An infection at a point close to ground level can cause an entire tree to become unstable and dangerous over a short period with no obvious Dieback symptoms in the crown. Diseased trees will show dead tips, sometimes discoloured. There may also be a "pom-pom" effect, with clumps of living leaves around the areas affected by the disease.
The following information has been issued by the County Council:
"While safety is a priority, felling the tree should not be the first option, particularly as some Ash trees are known to show resistance to Ash Dieback, and we have been part of a national effort to secure genetic material from these trees to try to ensure the future of the species.
It is important to remember that Ash is one of our most common native trees and is incredibly valuable for wildlife. We should stress that you shouldn't fell any trees unless you have to. In many cases it may be possible to reduce the risk by pruning branches, re-routing paths, or even repositioning items away from the tree so that people can avoid being in the immediate area. Always check trees for active bird nests or bat breeding or roosting sites, or other special species, well before undertaking any work.
People should also be aware that, with certain exemptions, all trees in Britain are protected by the Forestry Act, which means that a felling licence is required to remove them. Tree owners should be clear that their tree is in an exempted category, which include trees in gardens, or obtain a licence, before any felling takes place."
For more information people are asked to go to:
Leicestershire is one of the least wooded areas of the country, with currently some 6% being woodland, well below the national average of 10%. The County Council manages approximately 321,000 trees, but with diseases such as Ash Dieback placing more trees under threat the authority's strategy and action plan, adopted in May 2020, will see the number of trees across the county increase significantly.
The County Council offers a free tree scheme for landowners affected by Ash Dieback, in partnership with the Woodland Trust. The scheme aims to replant native trees across the county to replace trees lost in the landscape.
Richard Shepherd, County Councillor
Telephone: 01509 41303
Posted: Mon, 13 Sep 2021 13:00 by Julie Lovatt