Tree felling due to Phytophthora - Larch Disease


Why are trees being cut down in some parts of the National Park?

Forestry experts have identified an outbreak of the tree disease Phytophthora Ramorum in areas of the Peak District including the Goyt Valley and Stanage North Lees estate, affecting large numbers of larch (Larix species) trees and a smaller number of Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa). As a result of the discovery of the disease, a Statutory Plant Notice now places a legal obligation on the relevant body, Forestry England, and the respective landowner(s) to complete work to fell and remove infected trees in the affected area.

Why do the trees need to be cut down/can't they be treated?

Felling is the only effective way to prevent further spread of the disease, and stop it killing other trees and plants in the affected area. Infection occurs through spores dispersed in moisture, including moist air currents so it is essential that affected trees are removed to prevent the spread.

What will happen?

Infected trees will be felled by Forestry England/approved contractors, and removed from the area. Spraying and follow-up felling may continue until 2024.

Will other trees be affected by the works?

Some adjacent tree specimens may need to be removed to allow access to safely fell the affected larch trees, and as the removal of larch may leave remaining trees (such as pines) too exposed and susceptible to damage. A small number of infected veteran sweet chestnut trees will be pruned by tree surgeons where applicable to remove the affected branches but retain these valuable trees.

Will the areas affected be re-planted?

The areas affected will be re-planted with tree species that are resilient to the disease to ensure the future of the respective woodlands for generations to come. The felled trees will be used where possible as construction timber, fencing materials, pallet wood and biomass.

Will any access be restricted?

Rights of way or car park areas used for heavy plant may be temporarily closed when works are underway for public safety, and visitors are urged to observe all diversions or closures.

Route closures will be notified and supported by on-site signage.

What about the future landscape?

Forestry England will be working with the National Park Authority to ensure valuable features including wildlife and archaeology are impacted as little as possible by these necessary works. We will also support the plans to re-plant the woodland and ensure it remains representative and complimentary to the Peak District landscape of the area.

What is Phytophera?

P Ramorum is a non-native, fungus-like organism first discovered in the UK in 2002. It causes disease on trees, shrubs and plants in woodland, heathland, gardens and nurseries.

Last updated: July 2021

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