CLA welcomes Government focus on fighting tree disease

24 October 2013

The CLA has welcomed the Government's focus on fighting tree disease in response to the ash dieback disaster.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told delegates at the inaugural National Forestry Stakeholder Forum yesterday (31 October) that he had made addressing tree pests and diseases an "absolute strategic priority".

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "We are extremely pleased Mr Paterson has shown his determination to tackle tree disease and look forward to seeing this in action. He confirmed he is to divert resources from other areas of Defra to ensure tree health and protection is given the priority it deserves.

"We hope Mr Paterson accepts our offer to be part of the Tree Health Taskforce chaired by the Government's Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Boyd. CLA members have a great deal of hands-on experience of woodland management that must be considered by the Taskforce as it looks for a solution to this devastating problem."

Mr Cotterell added: "We urge everyone to look out for symptoms of ash dieback but also to check trees for other signs of disease such as Acute Oak Decline and Oak Processionary Moth. There are many tree pests and diseases that could spread rapidly and threaten the future of our forests even further."