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Plans to manage tree disease agreed

14 February 2023

Detailed plans to manage the impact of a serious disease which could affect thousands of trees across Peterborough have been agreed by council cabinet members.

In response to the nationwide spread of Ash Dieback, the council has produced an Ash Dieback Action Plan (ADAP) which was endorsed by members at a meeting of the authority’s cabinet at Peterborough Town Hall yesterday (Tuesday).

Ash Dieback is a virulent fungal disease that causes wilting and dieback of ash, often leading to the death of a tree. Up to 90 per cent of all ash trees in Peterborough could be killed by the disease, presenting a significant health and safety risk to the public, property and infrastructure.

The ADAP will help raise awareness and manage the problem, as well as identifying risks to public safety and infrastructure such as roads, footpaths, railways and overhead services.

The plan considers two scenarios - over 90% of ash dying within a 10-year period and less than 50% dying in the same time frame, estimating the likely costs of dealing with ash trees killed and badly affected by the disease and their replacement.

Councillor Nigel Simons, Cabinet Member for Waste, Street Scene and the Environment, said: “Our utmost priority is public safety and by having a robust plan in place we can effectively manage what could be a significant problem. The plan will help us to safeguard residents and the city’s general tree population.

“Ash Dieback can have devastating effects, but the infection rate and timescales for decline are variable. Currently infection rates in the council’s tree stock are very low, however, by preparing now we will get clear guidelines in place and can prepare for financial impacts.”

The council, in partnership with Aragon Direct Services, will continue routine tree inspections and any trees found to have Ash Dieback will be categorised under a four-tier system enabling appropriate action to be taken.

Teams will initially incorporate clearance of any diseased trees into standard council work programmes for its own tree stock. In some cases, monitoring will be increased to ensure that diseased trees do not present a risk to the public.

The council will also work with partners to ensure that new trees and other species are planted to make up for any losses, with this work included within the authority’s annual tree planting programme.

To find out more and read the ADAP in full visit here.