In a normal year, the service receives a combined total of 750 enquires. But in autumn 2012, the UK saw multiple cases of chalara, a serious disease of ash trees which is caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea.

Since then, THDAS has received over 4000 enquiries from England and Wales alone (as well as approximately 200 from Scotland), a workload ten times higher than normal.

That massively increased workload comes as the service struggles with budget cuts introduced in the years leading up to the 2010 election.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/02/biosecurity-agency-cut-labour-experiences-1000-cent-increase-workload

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Ash tree growers across the country are counting the cost of Ash Dieback after a survey estimated that the fungal disease could cost the industry £2.5 million.

95% of businesses state that the current situation will have a negative effect on their business

·         58% predict cash flow problems over the winter period

·         87% expect reduced business profitability.

·         13% of nurseries have already destroyed ash stock in response to the disease (either due to destruction notice or market failure)

·         8% of those surveyed believe they may go out of business without financial support.

There is an estimated £2.5million worth of ash trees held currently on UK nurseries with the majority being 1-2 year old seedlings, although the total market value is spread quite evenly across all tree sizes.

The HTA estimate that nearly 1.5 million ash trees have been imported by the nursery trade over the last 12 months and nearly 4 million since January 2009.

http://www.the-hta.org.uk/page.php?pageid=1025

 

Hilary Allison, policy director for the Woodland Trust, said that it was important that research into all the threats to UK trees received the necessary funding.

She told BBC News: “Another source of concern is that landowners worried about tree disease may perceive the risk of planting trees too great, actually leading to a reduction in tree planting and a decline in the UK’s woodland overall.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20219650