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Ash dieback disease found in Essex

Ash dieback disease found in Essex

The tree disease Chalara, also known as ash dieback, has been confirmed in forests and woodland in Essex and Kent after an urgent survey to seek out traces of the disease in Britain’s established woodlands.

It is believed that the disease may have been present in East Anglia for a number of years - most likely to have been transmitted by wind from mainland Europe originally - and the same is likely to be true for the cases in Essex and Kent.

The disease has now been confirmed in trees in 14 nurseries, 36 planting sites and 32 locations in the wider environment (forests and woodlands).

Plant health experts are now undertaking an urgent assessment of 220 prioritised sites (out of the thousands initially surveyed) which have had saplings from nurseries where Chalara was found to be present.

They are also prioritising the examination of around 2500 blocks of land, each 10 kilometres square, where mature ash trees are known to be present in order to seek out traces of the disease in established trees.

The ash tree is an iconic native British tree species, making up around five per cent of all woodland cover. It’s an important species for wildlife as its long-lived, supporting a huge variety of wildlife including specialist deadwood species such as the lesser stag beetle and birds such as woodpeckers, owls and bullfinches. Ash woodlands create light open canopies, ideal for bluebells, and support some of the rarest and scarcest lichen species nationally.

For more information see Defra's website