By Ken Skates AM / Latest News / 0 Comments

AM calls for ban on Ash Tree imports

CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has called for a ban on imports of Ash Trees to combat a new deadly fungus affecting the species in the UK.

Chlara Fraxinea – otherwise known as Ash die back – is an imported fungal disease and experts suggest it has the potential to be as dangerous as Dutch Elm Disease which wiped out 25 million trees in the 1970s and 80s.

So far the problem has only affected young nursery stock in isolated areas such as Buckinghamshire, but the UK Government is examining the possibility of an Ash tree import ban as soon as November.

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said:

“This fungus has the potential to damage or kill off some of Wales oldest and most important Ash trees.  We know the damage imported diseases like Dutch Elm can do to native stock and we must act now to ensure we protect one of our most important and historic trees.

“We should be looking very closely at the possibility of an import ban and subsequent movement restrictions in those areas where the disease has been confirmed to have infected trees.

“The disease has already had a huge impact on the Ash tree population in Denmark wiping out 90% of its stock.  It hasn’t affected wild areas in Wales yet, but we must act now in order to prevent that infection before it does.

“The disease causes significant leaf loss and dieback of the tree’s crown and at its worst can kill an Ash tree no matter how old it is. The new planting season begins in early November so we need to make a decision on a ban very soon.”

On Thursday the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was launching a consultation on the issue that ends on 26th October.