Scotland acts on ash dieback

Scottish Environment & Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse has set out the aims of a Chalara control strategy for Scotland at a summit meeting with representatives from the country's leading environment, land management and forestry agencies.

As a result of the meeting it was agreed to:

• Provide advice on management of mature infected ash trees
• Identify mature ash that are resistant to the disease and could be used to propagate and develop new strains of ash to restock Scottish woodlands.
• Investigate woodland management and forestry techniques that could help slow down the spread of the disease and lessen its impact.
• Identify isolated locations around Scotland that are protected from windborne spread of spores and use them as a refuge for ash in Scotland.
• Develop a feasible, practical, achievable and affordable approach to dealing with infected young ash on newly planted sites
• Continue to survey in towns, cities and in the countryside surrounding infected sites.

Wheelhouse said:

"I would like to thank all of those who took part in today’s meeting on how we take forward efforts to tackle Chalara and mitigate its impact on Scotland’s landscape and on the horticulture, arboriculture and forestry sectors.

"A number of actions have already been identified and there were many useful and positive contributions from the floor that will certainly be looked at more closely as we co-ordinate with the UK government effort and develop a Control Strategy for the end of November.

"As a result of today’s meeting we will look at options for new planting sites, including immediate action to remove infected young plants. We will continue to monitor the situation and assess the scope and range of the disease and decide on an appropriate course of action.

"Forestry Commission Scotland has acted swiftly to tackle this disease since it began to emerge in Scotland. The next phase of our response will involve working closely with all of the land managers in Scotland – and the public – to monitor the disease, report it wherever it is found and act appropriately to deal with it while seeking to identify mature trees that are resistant to the disease."

Those represented at the 13 November meeting included Confor; Woodland Trust Scotland; National Trust Scotland; National Farmers Union Scotland;  Environment Link; RSPB Scotland; WWF Scotland; Ramblers Association and Scottish Land and Estates.

The disease has a widely dispersed range across the country and has been found in several new planting sites as well as in mature trees at two sites.

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