Ash Dieback: Cure should not be worse than cause

Thursday 6th December 2012

Ash leaf with dieback diseaseAsh leaf with dieback disease in Norfolk

As the Government today sets out objectives for tackling ash die back in a new strategy published by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, The Wildlife Trusts broadly welcome the interim plan.

Paul Wilkinson, The Wildlife Trusts’ Head of Living Landscape, said: 

“We broadly welcome the Government’s interim Chalara Control Plan.  Our belief from the start was that a science-led and precautionary approach should be taken to addressing the disease, and one with wildlife and ecology at its heart.  The cure must not be worse than the cause.  We are pleased that Government has taken this on board. 

“As our knowledge of this disease is still evolving, the Government must continue to update its response as new scientific evidence becomes available.

The long-term objective must be to promote genetic resistance to this disease so that ash woodlands can naturally regenerate over time

“The impact of Chalara could be devastating, particularly for our unique upland ashwoods and the wide range of flora and fauna they support.   The long-term objective must be to promote genetic resistance to this disease so that ash woodlands can naturally regenerate over time.  We need further clarity on how best to manage our ash woodlands to give them the best chance to adapt and survive.” 

The Wildlife Trusts are at the frontline of tackling the disease as ash dieback was first discovered at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Lower Wood nature reserve, Ashwellthorpe and then Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Arger Fen nature reserve. 

Paul Wilkinson added:  “The Wildlife Trusts will play our part in helping to address this, and other, diseases through the mechanisms Government is establishing.”

For more information about The Wildlife Trusts and ash die back, visit http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/ashdieback

Tagged with: Living Landscapes