Defra Say Focus Now on Slowing Spread of Chalara Rather than Eradicating

Defra – update to Interim Chalara Control Plan

Chalara Can’t be Stoppped  – Focus now on Reducing the Rate of Spread

Chalara Ash tree dieback is caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus. It has already affected a high proportion of ash trees in Northern Europe.

It was discovered for the first time in Great Britain in a nursery in Buckinghamshire in February 2012. In October 2012, it was also found in the wider environment in woodland in Norfolk.

According to a Defra announcement last week, scientific advice is that we can’t stop Chalara but we can focus on reducing the rate of its spread. An update to the interim control plan published on the 6 December 2012 provides:

  • An update on the action Government and others have already taken in response to the disease
  • Sets out new science-based and proportionate action that will be taken now that our understanding of Chalara, and the costs and benefits of action has developed further
  • Outlines further work that will be undertaken to further develop our understanding of the disease.

The Management Plan sets out action around four key objectives:

  • Reducing the rate of spread of the disease
  • Developing resistance to the disease in the native ash tree population
  • Encouraging  landowner, citizen and industry engagement in surveillance, monitoring and action in tackling the problem
  • Building economic and environmental resilience in woodlands and in associated industries

The actions announced in the Plan includes research into resistance to Chalara, outlines funding to assist landowners with replanting of diseased newly infected young ash trees, details how we are working with  engaging with citizens, landowners and industry on surveillance, monitoring and action in tackling Chalara, and details on build economic and environmental resilience in woodlands and in associated industries.

In Spring 2013 the independent Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce convened by Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Ian Boyd will be publishing the Final Report of the Independent Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce that will look at ways to prevent pests and diseases from entering the country in the future.

 Below are links further details on research that is being commissioned and other evidence sought as we continue to improve our understanding of Chalara, how it spreads, and how spread might be slowed and damage reduced.   This research forms part of the overarching tree health and plant biosecurity evidence plan. Also published today a project by the Forest Research (the research agency of the Forestry Commission in conjunction with many collaborating land-owners and nurseries to identify those few ash trees which might be resistant to Ash Die Back.

Further information
Fera fungicides trials
Tree health and plant biosecurity evidence plan
Interim Report – Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce
More about Chalara and how you can help – Forestry Commission

 

Read the Defra update online

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