************UPDATED 04 October 2012**********
On 04 October The Government announced details of a consultation into a full ban on importing ash to prevent ash die back (Chalara Fraxinea)
Norman Starks, UK Operations Director at the Woodland Trust said: “This is not a minute too soon. The Trust called for a full immediate ban on imported ash trees last week and welcomes the consultation. We expect a decision to be made swiftly and decisively following the 26 October deadline before the tree planting season starts. The Trust will no longer plant imported ash trees on our estate and is reducing the number of ash to be planted this season by 100,000 trees. We are committed to working with the industry to do everything possible to prevent the further spread of ash dieback and protect one of the nation’s most common native trees.”
Original release as of 24 September 2012
The UK’s leading woodland conservation charity is calling for an immediate mandatory ban across the UK on importing ash trees in a last-chance bid to help prevent the destructive disease dieback of ash becoming established in the UK.
The Trust believes the Forestry Commission’s supportive response to the horticultural trade industry ’voluntary ban on ash imports is essentially too little too late, and without immediate action the dieback of ash could become the new Dutch elm disease, causing widespread destruction to one of our most common native broadleaf trees in Great Britain.
The situation is already dire in central Europe with 90 per cent of ash trees in Denmark having been lost in seven years and is becoming widespread throughout central Europe.
Norman Starks, UK Operations Director at the Woodland Trust said:
“This is not the time for weak ineffective voluntary embargoes; we are calling on governments across the UK to put in place an immediate and compulsory ban on imported ash before it’s too late.
“Already the sector is a year late in this voluntary ban and the longer we wait in compulsorily banning the import of ash and preventing the further spread of ash dieback, the closer we are to seeing a UK landscape without ash trees.
“The Woodland Trust will no longer plant imported ash trees.
“As an island we have a great opportunity to stop the spread to the UK by closing our borders to this disease. If the disease takes hold the cost and safety implications regarding the removal of infected ash trees would be huge.”
It is estimated that 30% of the UK wooded landscape is made up of ash which is found across woodlands, parks and hedgerows. Some woodland across the UK is virtually made up wholly of ash. It is a species that is excellent for biodiversity, but is also used widely for timber products. Ash timber is traditionally used for making furniture and tools, makes exceptional firewood and barbecue charcoal.
Norman Starks continued: “Many of our tree diseases have originated from imported species and in some cases for example Phytophthora ramorum which is wiping out larch trees across the UK, it’s a battle that is already in full swing.
“We are in a position to stop this war in its tracks before it has a chance to take a hold. It is also an opportunity for the UK industry to capitalise on this and grow disease free UK ash trees for the UK market.”
For More information on ash die back visit http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara
The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading charity championing native woods and trees. It has over 400,000 supporters. The Trust has three key aims: i) to plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife ii) to protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable iii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life. Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 woods in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its woods is free.<br /><br />The Woodland Trust is a charity registered in England (No 294344). A non-profit making company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No 1982873. Registered Office: Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL. The Woodland Trust logo is a registered trademark.