Toolkit launched to help councils cope with ash dieback

The Tree Council has developed a plan to help local authorities fight ash dieback, which it will distribute to them as an easy-to-use "toolkit".

Prepared with Fera Science Limited, with the support of Defra, the Ash Dieback Action Plan Toolkit brings together guidance and case studies from local authorities already tackling the devastating tree disease.

It aims to:

  • raise awareness of the disease
  • help councils create local action plans
  • identify best practice for managing non-woodland trees
  • advise on recovery and creation of alternative treescapes.

It urges local authorities and others managing the landscape to address the threat now, and draws attention to the significant economic and environmental impacts, as well as the dangers dead and dying trees pose to human health and safety.

It encourages authorities to recruit volunteer local environmentalists to help in identifying the scale of the problem.

The Tree Council describes the plan, a living document that will be updated as scientists and local authorities discover more about the disease.

Its chief executive Sara Lom said: "It’s essential we support local authorities to manage the risks posed by the death of ash trees throughout the country.

"We want our volunteer Tree Wardens to work with local authorities to help monitor and report on diseased trees and support replanting efforts."

The government has invested more than £6m into ash dieback research since it was first detected in the UK in 2012.

Chief Plant Health Officer Nicola Spence said: ""This toolkit draws together practical guidance from that body of research and from the local authorities that have taken a lead in managing non-woodland trees.

"We believe this will help all authorities develop responses to the threat at a local level."

The 56-page document can be downloaded for free from the Tree Council website.

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