Ash tree disease confirmed in East Yorkshire
A DISEASE threatening to devastate the country's ash trees has been confirmed in East Yorkshire.
Cases of Chalara or ash dieback, which causes leaf loss and can lead to ash tree death, have been confirmed north of Hornsea and north of Market Weighton.
Conservationists have previously said the fungal disease could change the East Yorkshire landscape for ever, with more than 40 per cent of trees in the region ash.
Nigel Leighton, director of environment and neighbourhood services at East Riding Council, said: "The council is aware of two reports of ash tree dieback in East Yorkshire near Hornsea and near Market Weighton. Neither site is believed to be owned or run by the council."
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Plant health experts, with volunteers from groups such as the National Trust and Woodland Trust, have been examining around 2,500 blocks of land, each 10sq km, where mature ash trees are known to be present in order to seek out traces of the disease.
Mr Leighton said: "The Government has committed to producing an action plan to combat the spread of the disease, involving further monitoring of trees by owners and managers of land and the destruction of diseased trees that have been recently planted.
"The council will review this plan and act in accordance with those guidelines.
The council will also work with partners, including the forestry commission, to prepare to act if the disease spreads."
The disease has wiped out 90 per cent of ash trees in some parts of Denmark and is becoming widespread throughout central Europe.
At a meeting of the Government's emergency committee on tackling Chalara ash dieback, it was revealed there are now 129 confirmed sites where the disease had been found, including 64 cases in woodland.
There are fears the UK's ash trees are facing a similar fate to its elms, which were destroyed by Dutch elm disease in the 1970s.
In an action plan published today, the Government ruled out cutting down and burning mature ash trees to stop the disease.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who chaired a summit of experts, industry and nature groups, said: "The scientific advice is that it won't be possible to eradicate this disease now that we have discovered it in mature trees in Great Britain.
"However, that does not necessarily mean the end of the British ash.
"If we can find those trees with genetic resistance to the disease and to restructure our woodlands to make them more resilient.
"If we can identify a genetic strain that is resistant, as soon as we get that, as ash grows quite fast, we can start to replace diseased trees."
The Forestry Commission said there is no risk to human or animal health and there is no need to restrict public access to woodlands either.