Cumberland Council are putting in measures following the spread of ash dieback that is affecting some trees within the Cumberland area.

Ash dieback affects ash trees and it is the worst tree disease since the Dutch Elm outbreak in the late 1970s, which effectively wiped-out mature Elms from the British landscape.  

It is predicted that within the next decade, up to 90 per cent of all ash trees across the UK will be affected, leading to significant tree removal.

Infected trees can become brittle, posing a safety risk as they may fall or shatter without warning, which requires the use of heavy machinery for removal to maintain the safety of the operative undertaking the works.

The fungal infection has spread extensively across the UK, with no known cure. Once a tree is infected through its leaves or twigs, the progression of the disease varies, but it can eventually kill the tree.

As Ash trees are a dominant species along roadsides in Cumberland, the removal of infected trees is expected to significantly alter the local landscape over the coming years.

The impact of Ash Dieback will likely persist as the infection spreads and continues to weaken already infected trees.

Young trees are particularly vulnerable and may die within a couple of years, mature trees usually take longer to succumb to the disease.  Additionally, large trees affected by Ash Dieback and secondary fungal infections can become hazardous well before they die completely.

The council’s tree specialists have been surveying Cumberland’s Resilient Road Networks, (most As, some Bs and C roads) to gather data and record where Ash trees are and what level of infection they are showing.

Cumberland Council is actively engaging with parish and town councils, as well as members of the public who own Ash trees near public highways, that are infected and potentially hazardous. 

The council is assuring the public that tree removal is considered a last resort, where the tree is dead, dying, diseased, or dangerous. 

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Cumberland Councillor Denise Rollo, Executive Member for Sustainable, Resilient and Connected Places, said:  “The news of Ash Dieback, a situation beyond anyone's control, is very sad.

"Our focus now lies in carefully assessing affected trees and ensuring informed decisions are about any that may have Ash Dieback.

"Ash trees are one of the most prominent trees in gardens, fields and hedges, and we now need urgent action by the owners of infected trees to ensure they don't become a danger to people or property.

“Our priority is public safety, and I would like to thank members of the public, town and parish councils who own ash trees, for their cooperation in addressing this issue by removing infected trees."