09 Nov 2012 Last updated at 00:00

Ash tree disease (Chalara) – information for residents

The Isle of Wight Council is concerned about the possible spread of ash dieback disease, known as Chalara. The disease is a serious threat to ash trees across the UK. Following advice from consultation with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Forestry Commission, the Isle of Wight Council has prepared the following information and advice.

Information:

  • Chalara poses no threat to human or animal health. Although all ash species are vulnerable the disease is not known to spread to any other tree.
  • The disease does not cause rapid or catastrophic failure of trees. Any danger from dead or dying trees is likely to be gradual and obvious over a period of years.
  • Chalara is not fatal to all ash trees. Older infected trees may be able to survive indefinitely, although may be at increased risk of other infections.
  • The disease cannot be cured so it is almost inevitable that it will arrive on the Isle of Wight. At the current rate of progress - and assuming no disease is spread by transport of infected trees - it may become apparent on the Island in spring 2014 or 2015. It is unlikely to arrive before then.
  • Chalara is a fungal disease carried on the wind and by movement of ash leaves. Spores are known to travel up to 18 miles in normal conditions, and sometimes further. Therefore there is no realistic possibility of establishing an exclusion zone around the Isle of Wight.

Action:

  • The government has established a national helpline and has requested that all reports go to that point for assessment.
  • The Forestry Commission website has helpful videos and guides which explain the symptoms and identification of the disease. It is helpful for anyone concerned about the disease to study these as Chalara is not always easy to identify.
  • The council supports this initiative and will be forwarding all reports received to the helpline. For this reason anyone concerned by a possible case should approach (1) the owner of the tree concerned and (2) the helpline.
  • There is no need to fell ash trees unless Chalara is confirmed in the tree, and the precautionary felling of trees is not recommended at this time.
  • The disease does not give any exemption from the legal requirements to seek permission to do works to protected trees, and to give notice of any works to trees in conservation areas. If you need advice on whether your tree is protected you should contact the council’s tree team.

Contacts:

National helpline
National Chalara helpline: 08459 335577 (8am to 6pm daily)  
plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk   
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/Chalara  
 
Isle of Wight Council tree team
Consult the tree team before doing works to protected trees, or if you need to know if your trees are protected – even if they are infected.
(01983) 823893
trees@iow.gov.uk  
http://www.iwight.com/trees  

Ash trees are a very common native species
Ash trees are a very common native species
Factfile
  • Chalara poses no threat to human or animal health.
  • Chalara is a fungal disease carried on the wind and by movement of ash leaves.
 
Isle of Wight