More than 20,000 trees may have to be destroyed at Northern Ireland’s only Diamond Jubilee Wood.

They are ash trees planted only last year near Whitehead to mark the Queen’s Jubilee.

HUNDREDS of trees could be chopped down to halt the spread of a disease wreaking havoc on woodlands.

The zone would run diagonally across Scotland from the Moray Firth to the Clyde to create a sheltered area to the west.

It is hoped that, while some more areas will be affected in the next five years, the sheltered area could remain disease-free for up to 20 years, allowing new approaches to be developed.

Statutory action is being considered which would require the removal or killing of all recently planted ash trees on any infected sites in both the buffer and sheltered areas.

Actions could include uprooting or cutting the trees before burning and deep burial, spraying the stumps or chemically injecting standing trees.

Thousands of deer are to be shot to save ash trees from a killer disease.

About 400,000 animals are normally culled every year to keep numbers down.

But conservationists believe thousands more must go to allow young ash saplings to grow and replace the trees suffering from ash dieback disease, Chalara fraxinea.

‘We will use a combination of fencing and deer management. But if you simply use fencing, deer just push through or decimate neighbouring woodland.’

The RSPCA said a cull would be acceptable if overgrazing threatened the landscape.

The former presenter of Gardener’s World said the horticultural trade warned of ash dieback in 2009, but nothing was done to stop imports of the species.

He said ministers’ advice to wash boots, dogs and children after visiting a woodland would have “minimal effect” when the disease is already widespread. “I think expecting people to wash their dogs, boots children after a woodland walk is like sticking a plaster on a broken leg.

“This is fungal-led and wind-borne. It is here now. It is a matter of watching and waiting. We need to cull where possible when we find it, monitor and look out for resistant strains. We also need more stringent rules on imports.”


Over the next week, Natural England will be contacting Environmental Stewardship customers and owners of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with advice on how they can help combat ash dieback disease (Chalara fraxinea).  Natural England is also providing important advice on how to protect agri-environment payments should the disease be found in young trees planted as part of an Environmental Stewardship scheme.

A key part of the advice to Environmental Stewardship agreement holders is that in view of the exceptional circumstances of ash dieback disease and the possible requirement to remove ash saplings that have been planted or managed under an ES scheme, Natural England will endeavour to protect their Environmental Stewardship payments under the scheme’s force majeure terms.  (Under standard ES scheme rules, the removal of trees forming part of an ES agreement would normally result in the terms of the agreement not being met, which can result in the recovery of grant payments).

Deadly ash dieback disease has been confirmed in Cambridgeshire, the News can reveal.

Three recent plantings near the city include infected young trees, according to Forestry Commission experts.

“In line with Fera’s instructions, the affected trees will be destroyed by the end of the week.”

There are also three cases of diseased trees on recently planted sites in the Newmarket area, and one near Ely.