Ash dieback disease, already present in the county, poses a major threat to Devon’s landscape and biodiversity over the next 5 to 15 years.

ash landscape picWhat is Ash dieback?

Ash dieback is a fungal disease affecting common ash trees, Fraxinus excelsior and the narrow leaved ash, Fraxinus angustifolia, by infecting the tree and weakening it to the point at which it becomes more vulnerable to other pests and pathogens. First discovered in the UK in Buckinghamshire in February 2012, the disease has since spread and we continue to find new cases in Devon. For more information, visit the Forestry Commission pages on Ash Dieback.

What can be done?

If we start to take action now, we can help build resilience into our landscape and wildlife. We can also prepare for the major risk to our roads and railways, and to our telephone and electricity cables, created by dead and dying ash trees. Resource needs can be assessed and hopefully met.

If you have any high quality photos of Ash tree landscapes, please send them in to nature@devon.gov.uk before 10 July – photos will be credited and used to create a montage showing how ash Dieback will affect the Devon landscape. More information

The Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum was established in July 2016, led by Devon County Council.  This is looking at a number of issues including:

– The management of diseased trees in high risk situations
– Reducing barriers to action
– Landscape and ecological resilience
– Communication

The Landscape and Ecological Resilience Group is led by Rob Wolton, Chair of the Devon Hedge Group.  To find out more contact him on robertwolton@devonhedges.org

View the key messages from the latest meeting of the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum, on 26th April 2017.

The Forum will be taking forward actions identified in the Devon Ash Dieback Action Plan, which was produced for Natural Devon to stimulate action. A one page summary of key facts, impacts and actions is provided

Outside heavily affected areas like Kent, Suffolk and Norfolk, Devon is leading the way nationally in the preparation of local action plans to address the threat posed by ash dieback disease. Our plan is being used by The Tree Council, acting on behalf of Defra, to help develop a national framework for the preparation of local plans and their delivery.

Delivery of the Devon action plan will be dependent on many organisations and individuals. It will require an integrated, partnership approach, with resources being pooled and priorities agreed. The plan suggests those organisations, both within and outside Government, that have a key role to play in delivery.