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Call for Leicestershire people to help in fight against ash dieback

Author:  Leicestershire County Council
  12/06/2023
Last Updated:  12/06/2023

Residents are being encouraged to play their part in keeping the countryside green by helping the county council identify and manage diseased ash trees.

Ash Dieback

Leicestershire County Council is dealing with the ongoing challenge of ash dieback, which has seen thousands of ash trees wiped out across the UK.

The highly destructive disease is caused by a fungus and can lead to infected trees shedding branches or limbs, or potentially falling as the tree dies.

There are no exact figures for the number of ash trees in Leicestershire, but it is estimated that there are more than half a million in the county, with around 120,000 of them at the side of roads.

Many of the trees are on private land, and the council is working to raise awareness of the issue among residents, businesses and landowners to remind them of their responsibility to ensure their trees do not become a hazard to road users and member of the public using footpaths.

The council has created a booklet full of help and advice on ash dieback, including clear information on the steps which landowners with infected trees on their land need to take to halt the spread of the disease, as well as pictures showing the symptoms of ash dieback. The booklets have been supplied to each of Leicestershire’s 130 tree wardens to support their work with landowners, and are available to download from the council’s website.

More information on ash dieback, including a short video, can also be found on the website.

Councillor Blake Pain, cabinet member for environment and the green agenda, said:

"It's vital that everyone who has ash trees on their property takes action to ensure they are safe. Landowners should have their trees regularly inspected by a professional so that, as the disease progresses, appropriate decisions in tree management can be made and accidents can be prevented.

“The booklet makes it easier for people to tell at a glance if a tree is suffering from ash dieback, what their responsibilities are and what they need to do to ensure tree safety. Our tree wardens are also able to work with landowners to offer help and advice.”

The county council is working to protect existing trees, while also helping to plant 700,000 more – one for every person living in Leicestershire – over the next decade. The tree planting drive has just reached the landmark figure of 250,000 trees.

Landowners are also being reminded that, with certain exemptions, all trees in Britain are protected by the Forestry Act, which means that a felling licence may be required to remove them. Tree owners should be clear that their tree is in an exempted category, which includes trees in gardens; or obtain a licence, before any felling takes place.