By Ken Skates AM / Latest News / 0 Comments

AM calls for local tree hunters to start exploring

CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES is asking for local people to take part in a new national survey of trees in their local area.

The Welsh Government is supporting the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) Tree Health Survey that encourages people to investigate and record the trees in their locality.

The survey activities include identifying and measuring trees, examining the trunk, branches and leaves for signs of poor health and recording the presence of pests and diseases. The results contribute to a national research programme on the state of the nation’s trees and the factors affecting them.

The AM is making the plea following the recent loss of the 1,200 year old Pontfadog Oak in Wrexham.


“Lots of people in Wrexham were very sad to lose the ancient Pontfadog Oak because it could have been saved if more had been done to protect it.  We must now turn our attention to the other fantastic trees in the area that need our help and attention.

“That’s why the OPAL project is so important.  It shows we all have an important role to play in protecting our natural environment.

“I want people in the area to get online, download the free OPAL survey pack and start investigating and recording the fantastic local trees we have in North East Wales as part of the survey.

“It’s a fantastic thing to do with younger family members in particular and a great way to get them interested in our natural environment.

“Though we have now lost the Pontfadog Oak, there are a significant number of ancient and veteran trees, particularly around Chirk and at the Grade 1 Listed Capability Brown gardens in Ruabon that need greater support.

“In addition we have a vast array of younger trees in gardens and public spaces right across North East Wales that we need to know much more about.

“Get out there, get tree hunting and let’s help protect our local trees.”


Notes to editors:
1. Survey packs may take a few days to be posted to your address, if you want to get stuck in straight away, go to and download the printable version.

2. Open Air Laboratories (OPAL), led by Imperial College London, (, is a nationwide partnership initiative that inspires communities to discover, enjoy and protect their local environments. OPAL provides the skills and materials needed for the first national community-led study of the world around us. OPAL is funded by £14m grant from Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme. For more information, please visit

3. OPAL is committed to the environment. The survey is printed on 100% recycled paper, totally chlorine free and received the Forestry Stewardship Council Chain of Custody certification. All printed materials use vegetable-based inks, which makes the de-inking stage of paper recycling much easier. The pack is supplied in a clear plastic bag made from biodegradable cornstarch and the pencil supplied in the pack is mostly made from recycled newspapers.

4. The Welsh Government is working in partnership with OPAL, Natural Resources Wales, The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), Forest Research, Scottish Government and a range of other key stakeholders in England and Wales to help deliver the OPAL Tree Health Survey.