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Three-year plan sets out strategy for managing trees affected by Ash Dieback

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A three-year plan for managing trees affected by Ash Dieback has been drawn up by Worcester City Council.

The council plans to remove or prune trees which pose a health and safety risk, but will try to avoid large scale felling, so that people can continue to enjoy the city's parks, open spaces and woodlands.

Ash Dieback leads to leaf loss and dead branches and can cause lesions at the base of the tree, while also making it more prone to secondary infections. Once infection is apparent, few trees survive longer than four years.

Latest survey figures show that three-quarters of the city's remaining Ash trees are healthy or only showing early stages of Ash Dieback, but around five percent are seriously affected.

Some areas have already been identified as higher risk and tree work will be carried out in these places as a priority. This will include the removal of six trees from Astwood Cemetery which are severely affected by Ash Dieback.

The survey work has also identified some trees which are showing high levels of resistance to Ash Dieback and these have been tagged and recorded so that they can be preserved for future seed collection.

The Draft Ash Dieback Strategy & Action Plan 2024-27 will be considered at a meeting of the Environment Committee on January 30. Funding is being sought to allow for specialist contractors to be hired where necessary.

Cllr Karen Lewing, chair of Worcester City Council's Environment Committee, said: "This three-year Ash Dieback strategy sets out a framework which will enable us to deal with the problem of Ash Dieback as swiftly as possible to prevent spread and save as many trees as we can.

"In order to try and minimise the impact of Ash dieback we will need to remove some diseased Ash trees, but we are confident that as we continue in our programme of planting new trees, we can ensure that our wooded areas are the best possible habitats for flora and fauna.

"We remain committed to improving Worcester's environment and our ongoing programme of tree planting and woodland management will provide increased biodiversity and improved resilience." 

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