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Thursday, 02 October 2014

1,000 ash trees to be destroyed in the Lake District

A thousand young trees are to be destroyed after a deadly disease was discovered near Keswick which theatens nearby historic ash pollards.

Ashness Bridge photo
Ash dieback was discovered at a four-hectare National Trust plantation in Borrowdale

Ash dieback was discovered at a four-hectare National Trust plantation in the Borrowdale area.

Ian Wright, plant health specialist at the Trust, said:“This is the first on Trust land of several sites where suspected cases have been found over the past couple of weeks, with the others mainly in the east and south-east of the country.

“Our tree and woodland experts have been working closely with the Food & Environment Research Agency (Fera) to survey the country looking for signs of the disease, and sadly, it was only a matter of time before we had a case confirmed.

“As a precautionary measure, we started to remove and destroy the 1,000 new plantings, which were less than a metre tall, before diagnosis, to try to safeguard nearby veteran ash pollards – some of which are over 400 years old.”

The origin of the infection in the trees, which came from a nursery in Yorkshire and were planted around two years ago, has not yet been confirmed.

“The ash trees will be burned and replaced with other species, but our main objective is to protect as many of the ash trees as we can in the woods, parks, gardens and farmland that we care for,” added Mr Wright.

The conservation charity is one of hundreds of landowners that have confirmed the presence of the disease over the past couple of weeks.

Watendlath is the second confirmed site of the disease in Cumbria. The first was in newly planted saplings near Aspatria.

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