Fears grow for Brighton’s elms

Trees from national collection felled due to infection.

There are fears that Britain’s most prized collection of healthy elms is under increasing threat of infection from Dutch elm disease. A recent day of action saw 200 infected trees from among the 17,000-strong national elm collection in the Brighton & Hove area felled by tree-surgeons employed by campaigners. Arborists from Save the Elms warned that elms in Brighton & Hove are facing renewed threats from the bark beetle that carries Dutch elm disease. Harraway Tree Services owner John Harraway said that although the collection was vigorously controlled by the local council, fringe areas such as Lancing remain vunlnerable. “Brighton & Hove conurbation is deemed defendable,” he said. “But there is disease outside the area, and once you breach the city walls the city within becomes at risk.” Tree pathologist Brian Greig of the Arboricultural Advisory & Information Service said: “Local councils are doing sterling work, but in areas around the control zone there is no legislation for control.” But Brighton & Hove City Council arboriculture manager Bob Greenland said “hiccups” outside the control area had “not greatly -affected our programme” and had strengthened the resolve of Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne and Adur councils. The recent day of action followed the first cull last August, which saw 30 elms felled (HW, 17 August).

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