Scottish Ash Rapid Response Survey Completed
The Institute of Chartered Foresters can confirm that the rapid action Chalara survey carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland has now been completed.
In the sample survey, which covered 80,000kmsq and lasted five days, 5 per cent of the sites investigated showed potential symptoms of the disease and will now be revisited for further inspection and where necessary samples taken for testing.
As the disease only spreads in summer, typically during July and August, there is now a window of opportunity in which to obtain best scientific advice on the appropriate action to take, including how best to deal with infected sites.
There is no risk to human or animal health from this disease. There is no need to restrict public access to woodlands either, but members of the public are asked to behave responsibly to ensure that they do not inadvertently carry ash leaves from one woodland area to another.
Staff and contractors finished their survey ahead of schedule and on request, Forestry Commission Scotland was able to send around 15 staff to the north east of England to help FC England and DEFRA colleagues to complete a similar survey south of the border.
A meeting with key stakeholders in Scotland to discuss Chalara and the findings of the survey is to be hosted by Environment & Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse early next week.
Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, has briefed the Cabinet on the Chalara outbreak and initial findings of the rapid action ash survey.