Latest Public Sector News

05.11.12

Ash fungus confirmed at more sites – Defra

Ash dieback disease has now been found at 52 sites across England and Scotland, both in the wild and in nurseries and plantations. 

The Government has pushed back against claims that it could have acted as long ago as 2009 to ban imports, saying that confusion over the strains of the fungus meant it was not clear until very recently that the strain in Britain was the same as the one that’s done so much damage in continental Europe.

One nursery owner, Simon Ellis of Crowders in Lincolnshire, says he is considering suing the Government for £200,000 for not blocking imports sooner, after he was forced to destroy 50,000 ash trees.

There is no cure for a tree infected by the chalara fraxinea fungus.

Although the fungus has been found at many more sites now – the results of a study over the weekend will be published by Wednesday – that is because of better information rather than the disease actively spreading, as it does not do that in the winter months.

Environment secretary Owen Paterson says the Government, in banning imports last Monday and urging walkers to take precautions, has acted corrected.

So far, Defra says the fungus has been found at 18 nurseries that had imported infected plants, 20 plantations, and 14 wild ash trees infected by wind-carried fungus spores.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

(Ash tree image copyright Amanda Slater used here under a Creative Commons licence, some rights reserved).

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