29 Oct 2012 09:00
Statement from Woodland Trust following Owen Paterson announcement of ash import ban 29/10/12
STATEMENT FROM THE WOODLAND TRUST FOLLOWING OWEN PATERSON ANNOUNCEMENT OF ASH IMPORT BAN
Sue Holden Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust said: "We are clearly pleased to see Owen Paterson finally taking action to introduce a ban on the import and movement of ash trees in to the UK. We also ask Government scientists to give urgent and clear advice to all woodland owners on how to manage the disease. The Trust will do all it can to mitigate spread in line with this Government instruction and advice.
"We must stress however, that ash dieback is only one of numerous tree pests and diseases present in the UK. With more than 15 separate pests and diseases listed on the Forestry Commission website as already present, it is crucial that the wider issue is tackled. The Government must set up an emergency summit bringing together representatives from all areas of forestry, plant health and conservation because today it's ash but tomorrow yet another of our precious native trees could be at risk.
"This situation is symptomatic of the lack of priority given to the protection and safeguarding of our natural woodland resources. We need to make woodland and the environment a priority and create a political and economic environment that will enable the sustainability of vibrant woodland habitats across the UK.”
Notes to Editors:
Ash Dieback (Chalara Fraxinea)
• The situation is already dire in central Europe with some 90 per cent of ash trees in Demark and 80% of ash stands in Poland affected and it is becoming widespread throughout central Europe. The disease has been observed to spread upto 20-30km per annum once established.
• A high risk pathway for the disease entering the UK is on imported ash saplings from areas of Europe. The Woodland Trust is therefore 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 Woodland Trust will no longer plant imported ash trees and has taken the decision not to plant ash on the majority of its estate or advocate its planting by others this year.
• The ash dieback outbreak has been found at the Woodland Trust site Pound Farm, near Great Glenham in Suffolk. The site was purchased by the Trust in 1992 and is around 90ha in size and is a mix of new native plantings and existing ancient woodland.
For more information visit the Forestry Commission website: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara
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About Woodland Trust
The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity championing native woods and trees. It has more than 500,000 members and supporters and its three key aims are: i) to enable the creation of more native woods and places rich in trees ii) to protect native woods, trees and their wildlife for the future iii) to inspire everyone to enjoy and value woods and trees. Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,200 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to all Woodland Trust sites is free.