CLA welcomes strategy for dealing with ash tree disease

24 October 2013

The CLA today (6 December) welcomed the Government's new strategy on how to tackle ash tree disease.

The Association, whose members helped the Forestry Commission establish the scale of the problem by inspecting their woodlands for signs of the disease, has worked closely with the Government to influence and develop the Chalara Control Plan.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "The CLA has worked hard to influence the outcome of the Control Plan and we are pleased that most of our recommendations have been accepted.

"We are pleased the reclaiming of planting grants has been suspended by the Government. I spoke to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson directly to advise him on the situation because to penalise woodland owners already struggling with the costs of the disease would be grossly unfair."

Mr Cotterell added: "Mr Paterson is right not to rush into unnecessary expensive control measures before the chances of success have been properly evaluated."

The CLA also welcomed an interim report by the Tree and Plant Health Task Force published today.

Mr Cotterell said: "Chalara fraxinea is not the only disease affecting trees at the moment. At least one new major tree pest or disease affects the UK every year, so we will take time to study the detail in the Task Force's report.

"It is vital that measures such as restricting the importation of sweet chestnut and London plane trees are implemented immediately to halt the spread of further devastation in our trees and woodlands."

Read the Government's Chalara Control Plan

Read further information on the Tree and Plant Health Task Force and its report