Your Town Council have recently received information from the Forestry Commission explaining about Ash Dieback and how tree owners should react to this terrible disease spreading across the UK.
Ash Trees are found in woodland and non-woodland settings across all landscapes. They form about 12% of GB broadleaved woodland and are frequent in parks, gardens, hedgerows along roadsides and close to watercourses.
Ash Dieback is a fungal disease affecting the common ash tree and other ash species and has been prevalent in the UK since mid 2000's
Local conditions determine the extent to which ash trees are affected. Trees in woodland with high proportions of ash are likely to decline more quickly due to the higher density of spores. In addition ash is likely to decline more quickly when there is low water availability. Ash trees growing in open, less humid locations - such as street and hedgerow trees - will probably deteriorate more slowly. Some may survive for several years.
In all situations, the most susceptible trees can dramatically deteriorate in condition in as little as four years. If affected trees are situated in high footfall areas or roadsides, this can create health and safety risks to the public and land users in general.
It is recommended you familiarise yourself with the symptoms of Ash Dieback so you can assess the health of your Ash trees and the severity of the infection in your area.
There is a variety of On-Line resources available to help you with identification.
It is recommended land owners consider their management options now, even if they are dealing with low levels of infection.
Felling diseased ash requires a felling licence from the Forestry Commission (Check Exmoor National Park) unless the trees are dead or pose a real and immediate danger.
It is important for those working on diseased ash trees, or in ash woodland to be aware of the specific dangers and relevant safety considerations.
Public safety is an important concern especially for those responsible for ash near roads, railways, buildings and other publicly accessible land. Trees or woodlands in these areas should be risk-assessed, monitored and managed under an agreed protocol. Monitoring should happen with an increased frequency and at an appropriate time of year for assessing the extent of the infection.
In law, the owner of land where a tree stands is responsible for the health and safety of those who could be affected by that tree. Liabilities can arise if trees or branches fall. If you are unsure about the health and safety risks, consult a fully insured tree management professional who holds the LANTRA Professional Tree Inspection Certificate.