This is an archived press release
Tuesday 13 November 2012
People are being asked to notify the Peak District National Park Authority if they have planted any ash trees in the past six years, and to choose alternatives to ash in any new tree-planting schemes.
The appeal is part of a national alert over ash dieback disease, caused by the fungus chalara fraxinea, a serious threat to Peak District ash woodlands which are among the most important in the UK and of international significance.
Access to woodlands in the national park is completely unaffected, but the Peak District National Park Authority is asking people to be vigilant about cleaning footwear, clothing, cycles or buggies so as not to transfer the fungus spores from one site to another.
Seven limestone dales in the national park contain some 900 hectares of ash woodland. They include iconic landscapes such as Lathkill Dale, Dovedale, Monsal Dale and the Manifold and Wye Valleys, which would be changed forever by a serious outbreak of this disease. These woodlands – designated an internationally-important Special Area of Conservation - support a rich profusion of wild flowers, insects, mammals and birds, which would in turn be devastated.
Jane Chapman, head of environment and economy for the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “The Peak District National Park is open for business and people should continue to enjoy the area as normal.
“This is a serious disease and if it took hold in our woodlands it would change some of our most iconic landscapes irreversibly.
“No cases have been found in the Peak District, but if we are going to get an outbreak, new trees are the most likely source of infection. For this reason we’re asking anyone who has planted any ash trees in the national park in the last six years to contact us, be they individual trees or part of a larger planting scheme.
“And we’re recommending people not to plant new ash trees at all, but to choose alternatives according the soil conditions, such as common beech, field maple, common lime and native oaks.”
People who have planted ash in the past six years should call the Authority’s customer service on 01629 816 200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org giving their name, contact details and the site location.
Meanwhile, if people suspect any cases, they should check the symptoms through the Forestry Commission’s website, www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara or on YouTubeThen email the Forestry Commission: email@example.com or phone 0131 314 6414.
The Authority is working with partners such as the Forestry Commission, Natural England and large landowners to pool information and share resources.