- Ash dieback has now spread to six more counties and been found in 115 locations
- Woodland Trust says crisis is a ‘sad reflection’ of low priority given to protecting the countryside
Outbreaks of the deadly disease threatening to devastate 80 million ash trees were yesterday confirmed in as many as ten counties.
A chief Government environmental adviser admitted nothing can be done to prevent its spread.
The number of woodland sites where ash dieback has been detected has doubled since Monday, up from 32 to 61.
It is now present at 115 sites across the country when nurseries and new planting sites are included. It is believed that thousands of ash are infected.
With the disease so widespread, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that infected mature trees will be felled and burned, with the Government instead likely to opt for a policy of ‘managed decline’.
Cases of ash dieback have been found in woodlands in six more counties since the weekend – Sussex, Berkshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Bedfordshire and Northumberland – in addition to Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent and Essex.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson yesterday held a summit with scientists, conservation groups and tree growers, and is set to announce a series of measures following a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee tomorrow.