Councillor Mike Morey of Torbay council said that the Ash dieback clearing operation will temporarily close two main roads of Torquay namely the Penny’s Hill and Hele Road. This is to provide access to workers which shall begin the clearing of Ash dieback trees on the 6th of April.
Ash Dieback or Hymenoscyphus fraxineus is a fungus that originated in Asia. It affects ash trees of all ages, but the younger trees are badly affected by the disease in general.
Unfortunately, 30 years ago it spread across Europe and has killed up to 95% of healthy ash trees in the U.K. It caused changes to the landscape and continually poses threat to species that depend on ash.
European Ash trees infected with Dieback have become a rising problem across the United Kingdom because they have no natural defense against the fungus. Thus, there is a need to constantly clear up dead and infected tree; however, this is very expensive.
In Torbay, around 2,000 ash trees will have to be cut down at an estimated cost of £400,000 due to Dieback. Meanwhile, in other parts of Devon, more than 90% of native ash trees are anticipated to be removed in the next 15 years because of Ash dieback.
However, due to the strict social distancing protocols brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, daily tree works are being suspended across the county. Nevertheless, the Torbay council reassured everyone that the cutting of Ash Dieback trees will not be affected, especially if it poses danger to the community.
The Ash Dieback clearing operations will also be carried out with strict adherence to the social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone. This movement just shows that the Torbay council genuinely respects the ‘My Tree, My Responsibility’ campaign that encourages Devon landowners to watch out for signs of Ash Dieback.