Ash trees under threat from disease
A deadly fungal disease that threatens to destroy millions of ash trees in Britain and Ireland has been found in 61 locations in Britain following weekend searches, including the first reported case in Wales yesterday.
The Chalara fraxinea fungus leads to the trees losing their leaves, while the crown dies back. So far it has destroyed nine out of 10 ash trees in some parts of Denmark, while it has spread rapidly throughout central Europe.
British ministers held an emergency meeting yesterday, though already the Conservatives/Liberal Democrats coalition is facing criticism for not having acted more quickly to ban the importation of infected saplings from the Continent.
Labour MP Mary Creagh said ministers had been warned about the disease last April: “Scientists tell us the disease loves wet conditions and spreads from June to October but ministers failed to get a ban in place,” she said.
The Welsh case was discovered in St Clears in southwest Wales, though, so far, the department of environment, food and rural affairs has refused to give more information about it.