“We will see a decline in the ash tree over many many years in Britain. That is an opportunity for our forests to use the best silviculture practices to introduce more diverse species, new species and replace ash trees with resistant varieties,” said Prof Boyd. He said the new species will look similar to the native trees.

He pointed to the fact that all the outbreaks in the wild are in the South East or on the east coast and said there have been the right weather conditions in the last few years to blow the fungal spores across. Ash dieback spreads during June to October when fungus in leaf litter are releasing spores.

He said the disease can be controlled by burying or burning leaf litter around individual trees on streets or in gardens. But it would be too difficult to remove all the leaf litter in a forest where the disease has taken hold.

The disease originated in Japan and was then imported into Eastern Europe.