Nursery burns £10,000 of trees to prevent Ash Dieback outbreak

16:41 09 November 2012

Paul King burns his final stock of ash trees.

Paul King burns his final stock of ash trees.

Archant

OWNERS of a long-established nursery have taken drastic action, burning hundreds of trees amid fears a fungal disease could take root.

Ash dieback – a disease killing ash trees – is spreading across the UK with more than 80 cases reported.

That has forced one nursery, King and Co, in Rayne, into taking a decision to destroy 200 trees this week as a preventative measure. Owner Paul King told the Broadcast the loss of trees would cost the business around £10,000.

“Our trees don’t have the disease, but we are removing them as a precaution,” he explained.

“We have cleared out all the other ash trees in the last two months and we are also clearing out our Beazley End nursery. We are pre-empting any problems with belt-and-braces action – it may seem drastic but it’s not when you have £250,000 of stock.”

Mr King, whose business has been established for 35 years, said that burning the healthy trees had been a depressing experience – one he blamed on a “reactive government”.

“It’s quite galling for us to have to do all this. Basically the government has missed the boat on preventing a serious outbreak of tree disease,” he said. “Bio-security in the UK is an absolute joke – the ban on imports should have been put in place a year ago.

“Successive governments, including this one, are just not prepared to spend funds on stopping lorries at the border. Anything could be coming in and until we start employing sufficient resources to tackle this issue on our borders, then it’ll just carry on.”

Scientists say the infection in native ash trees has been caused by a fungus, Chalara fraxinea, which is believed to have been carried on the wind from mainland Europe.

Cases of the fungus have been confirmed in ash trees in 14 nurseries, 36 planting sites and 32 forests and woodlands in the UK. A further case was spotted in Essex this week – the first in the wild outside Norfolk and Suffolk.

In the last six weeks, 100,000 ash trees have been destroyed and experts say it may be too late to stop the spread of the fungus. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was due to chair a summit on ash dieback on Wednesday.

In Uttlesford the National Trust, which owns the popular tourist venue at Hatfield Forest, is on alert for cases.

A spokesman said: “Our ranger teams have been out surveying their ash trees and are taking precautions when moving vehicles from one site to another and also hosing off boots.

“The countryside is very much open and scientific guidance is that the risk of spreading the fungus by foot or animal is very low.

“If a case were to arise we would follow guidance from the Forestry Commission.

“A containment notice would be issued and steps taken either to quarantine the area or destroy the affected tree.”

0 comments

Yesterday, 10:33
Winners of the competition Kiki Flower, six, and Kiera Dore, 10, with teacher Sally Evans.

Talented young writers went on a trip to Great Dunmow’s library after becoming finalists in a school competition.

Mon, 12:44

Every household in Uttlesford will receive a letter aimed at encouraging all eligible electors to register to vote ahead of the general election.

Mon, 11:46
Butcher Tony Kisielowski and Andrew Webb hold up their chieftains in front of Burtons Butchers on King Street.

The end of January marks what you might call, a return to normal service, where we all finally give up any ideas about diets or abstinence. And so it is with perfect timing that the Scottish tradition of Burns Night comes around. So here’s my local take on the Scottish Bard’s birthday dinner.

Mon, 09:00
Great Dunmow Town Council offices.

Despite Uttlesford’s Local Plan being in tatters – Great Dunmow Town Council is still pushing forward with its Neighbourhood Plan to ensure it still has some control over future developments.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Dunmow Broadcast e-edition today E-edition

Most read stories