• We are working with others to bring the public and leading scientists together to improve how we identify and monitor tree pests and disease in the UK.
  • We are starting a programme of investing in UK tree nurseries to guarantee that all the planting stock we use in the future will be 100% from UK collected seed, raised and grown on in the UK and free from the risk of importing tree disease.
  • We will bring together leading experts from the UK, Europe and the wider world to share knowledge and learning about the impacts of ash disease and the growing list of wider tree health threats.

We have also embarked on a more considered response to developing a better understanding of the major impacts of ash dieback on conservation and biodiversity in the medium and longer term – this will take some time. We recognise that we will need to engage in wider conversations to pool ideas, knowledge and learning with a range of other bodies and expert individuals. You can read more about our initial Conservation Response here. The impacts on ash will be much more complex than the media headlines suggest, this goes well beyond the simple percentages of what will be lost or estimates of how many million trees are at risk. Some landscapes and habitats will be much harder hit than others, and we need to start thinking about how we respond to that now.

We have stopped planting ash and will continue with this approach until the situation is clearer. Not least because we need to understand the scope for disease resistance in our existing UK ashwoods. However, we are not stopping tree planting altogether – rather, we are substituting other UK native species for the ash and have confirmed that all of the other planting stock we are using this season are UK sourced and UK grown. We have revised our position on the use of local tree provenance to reflect a changing situation and updated our stance on the wider threats from pests and disease.

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