Twenty new Chalara cases per month as minister admits "there is no magic bullet"

The spread of ash dieback, caused by the pathogen Chalara fraxinea, is showing no signs of slowing, with latest Forestry Commission figures showing that nearly a thousand sites across the UK are now affected.

Image: FERA
Image: FERA

The Commssion's figures show that out of 949 sites affected, 525 are established woodland, 398 are recently planted sites, and 26 are nurseries.

This shows a tripling of infected sites since the end of 2012, when the figure stood at 323. Its spread now extends from Cornwall to Moray, but has made rapid progress over the past year in Lancashire, Northumberland and central Scotland in particular.

Environment secretary Liz Truss told The Daily Telegraph: "We are doing all we can on ash dieback. It is a serious issue.

"We're looking at various ways of dealing with it but we don't have a magic bullet. We don't have a solution and we're still carrying out research on that."

The government has committed over £16.5 million into tree health research which includes identifying a strain of ash tree which is naturally resistant to the disease.

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