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Work to tackle ash dieback disease continues in Carmarthenshire

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council is continuing its work to tackle ash dieback disease by removing infected trees along the highway for which it is directly responsible and where they are at risk of falling.

The council’s highways inspectors have also identified trees in private ownership along many county roads which pose a similar risk yet remain the responsibility of the landowner.

Information and advice about ash dieback can be found on the council website, and landowners are being urged to take action where the trees they own present a similar danger to the public.

It is generally accepted that where ash trees pose a risk to the public or property, and when they have lost at least 50% of their crown, trees should be felled. Trees that have lost 75% or more of their canopy or more are considered to pose an immediate risk.

The council has been felling trees along the county’s A and B roads for which is it is directly responsible, with further works are planned through the winter.

Surveys and intervention works have also been carried out on ash trees on other council-owned land such as schools; safe routes to schools and parks and this work continuing.

The removal of trees with ash dieback is a dangerous and specialised job and should only be carried out by experienced tree surgeons. Affected trees can collapse when being felled. Many will be unsafe to climb and will need to be removed by operatives working from elevated platforms or using tree shears.

Landowners are advised to employ a professional tree surgeon to advise on the management of trees affected by ash dieback. Approved tree surgeons can be found on the Arboricultural Association website trees.org.uk and click on ‘Find a Professional’.

With the bird nesting season at its end, this is a good time to review the management of trees for which you are responsible. Felling during the autumn and winter would help to reduce any negative impact on wildlife. Bats may be using cavities in trees, but appropriate surveys and working methods at this time of year can assist in ensuring that you remain on the right side of the law.

Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans said: “Ash dieback disease is a serious problem for both councils and other landowners across the UK. The council takes very seriously the risks posed to the public by ash dieback and a lot of work is being carried out in Carmarthenshire to tackle it.

“Cutting down any tree is a huge loss to our county, but this is something we must do if it poses a risk to road users. Other landowners need to take similar action to protect members of the public, as well as themselves, from falling trees or branches; and the council commends those landowners who have already started this important work.”

Executive Board Member for Biodiversity Cllr Philip Hughes added: “This is a very sad situation and we will be doing all we can to mitigate the effect on our wildlife, for example, as part of our own work on ash dieback, we are putting up a number of bat boxes to provide new roost sites for bats in healthy trees.

“We will also be carrying out a programme of tree planting throughout the county.”

For further information including frequently asked questions please visit the website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/ashdieback

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