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Killer Tree Disease Ash Dieback Strikes in Adur and Worthing

Released: Thursday, 10 October 2019

A community task force has been created for a replanting scheme to help control an infection which could wipe out all ash trees in Adur and Worthing.

A plan to combat the loss of more than 1,200 ash trees, killed after succumbing to a deadly disease, is now in it's initial phases at Lancing Ring.

Adur & Worthing Councils' parks team has been carrying out an urgent study at Lancing Ring in Adur and The Gallops at Findon Valley in Worthing into the extent of the problem. These areas are particularly vulnerable, because of the volume of ash trees. Almost 20 per cent of the entire woodland covering is at risk.

The Council's arboricultural inspector has met with Friends of Lancing Ring to discuss where some of the infected and dead trees will be removed from the woodland, and where glades will be opened up, with new species of trees being planted, and the potential for marginalised planting around the edges of the woodland.

Friends of Lancing Ring will be working with the Councils to help clear the area, plant new trees and help maintain them, preserving the landscapes and work towards climate change mitigation.

Cllr Emma Evans, Adur District Council's Executive Member for the Environment, said:

“Across Europe and elsewhere in the UK we are seeing the vast majority of Ash trees contracting the disease dying so, sadly, our plan really has to be about felling affected trees and replacing with other species.”

“Swift action is needed in response to the threat to beautiful areas like Lancing Ring.”

“Engaging with local schools and community groups as part of these replanting programmes is a vital step to try and create something special, new memories and legacies out of something so sad.”

The disease is currently incurable, which means the most common tree in West Sussex, ash, could disappear from the landscape forever.

The parks team are working closely with The Tree Council and West Sussex County Council and other local landowners to coordinate the approach to the affected areas.

Defra and the Tree Council has created a tool to assist land managers in the effective and safe management of their tree stock and the disease, this approach was formally adopted by Adur and Worthing Councils' Joint Strategic Committee at a meeting this week (Tuesday 8th October).

Cllr Edward Crouch, Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Digital and Environment Services, said:

“We're going to lose entire woodland areas, because the majority of trees are Ash. It's a difficult position to be in. But we have to protect our green spaces, which is why we are developing this replanting programme.”

“Our environmental teams are exploring where we can future proof by replanting a diverse range of new trees to support our landscape endure against aggressive diseases which target one species of tree.”

Symptoms the disease has taken hold include; blackened and curling young leaf shoots, a very thin crown at the top of the tree resulting in an undernourished canopy of leaves and damage to bark.

Ash Dieback, a fungal disease, is spread through spores from tree to tree, blocking the water transport systems in ash trees. It was first spotted in Worthing in 2014 and identified in the Crematorium a year later.

A small percentage of older ash trees are unsusceptible to the disease and it is hoped to breed from these in the future.

Videos: Investigating Ash Dieback in Lancing Ring

Photo: Lancing Ring

PR19-145 - Lancing Ring

(PR19-145)

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