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Call for Leicestershire people to help in fight against ash dieback

Thousands of trees have been wiped out by the disease

Ash dieback is affecting trees across the country
Ash dieback is affecting trees across the country

Residents are being encouraged to play their part in keeping the countryside green by helping the county council identify and manage diseased ash trees.

Leicestershire County Council is dealing with the ongoing challenge of ash dieback, which has seen thousands of ash trees wiped out.

The highly destructive disease is caused by a fungus and can lead to infected trees shedding branches or limbs, or potentially falling as the tree dies.

There are no exact figures for the number of ash trees in Leicestershire, but it is estimated that there are more than half a million in the county, with around 120,000 of them at the side of roads.

Many of the trees are on private land, and now the council has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue among residents, businesses and landowners to remind them of their responsibility to ensure their trees do not become a hazard to road users or people using pavements.

A new booklet has been created full of help and advice on ash dieback, including clear information on the steps which landowners with infected trees on their land need to take to halt the spread of the disease, as well as pictures showing the symptoms of ash dieback. The booklets are being supplied to each of Leicestershire’s 93 tree wardens to support their work with landowners, and are available to download from the council’s website.

It's vital that everyone who has ash trees on their property takes action to ensure they are safe. Landowners should have their trees regularly inspected by a professional so that, as the disease progresses, appropriate decisions in tree management can be made and accidents can be prevented.

The new booklet will help make it easier for people to tell at a glance if a tree is suffering from ash dieback, what their responsibilities are and what they need to do to ensure tree safety. Our tree wardens are also able to work with landowners to offer help and advice.

The county council working to protect existing trees, while also helping to plant 700,000 more – one for every person living in Leicestershire – over the next decade. The landmark of 100,000 trees has recently been passed.

Landowners are also being reminded that, with certain exemptions, all trees in Britain are protected by the Forestry Act, which means that a felling licence is required to remove them. Tree owners should be clear that their tree is in an exempted category, which includes trees in gardens; or obtain a licence, before any felling takes place.

More information on ash dieback, including a short video, is available on the website.

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