A deadly tree fungus has been detected in Cornwall for the first time as the number of infected sites nationwide doubled in the past month to almost 300.

The confirmed case of ash dieback was found in a recently-planted site near Camborne, the Forestry Commission has revealed.

A handful of fresh cases had been identified as part of last month’s audit, all of them in new plantings.

However, David Rickwood, site manager for the Woodland Trust in Devon, claimed this was the result of a huge audit rather than evidence that the disease was spreading in the countryside, adding that prevailing westerly winds might help prevent stem its rapid movement in the wild.

Brian Beasley, the national park’s trees and landscape officer, told an authority meeting on Friday that an infected site had been confirmed in a newly-planted woodland owned by the Woodland Trust, to the west of Exeter and near Dartmoor’s eastern boundary.

He also warned that lichens of national and international importance which live in ash bark in places such as Buckland-in-the-Moor, are at risk.

Chalara fraxinea has now been found at 136 sites linked to imported plants and a further 155 sites in the wider environment.

The measures were criticised by the National Trust as “limited and weak”, too focused on minimising costs.

“We are alarmed to see the government is even wavering about continuing its programme of tracing, testing and destroying infected young ash trees.

http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/Warning-Dieback-tree-disease-spreads-Cornwall/story-17546244-detail/story.html

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