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Woodland managers are to be given grant support in Scotland’s ongoing effort to manage the threats posed by Chalara dieback of ash.
Forestry Commission Scotland has announced that special financial support will be available to help meet the costs of the removal and destruction of infected, recently planted ash trees in the ‘sheltered’ and ‘buffer’ areas identified in the Chalara Action Plan for Scotland. Support will also be provided for replanting such sites with alternative tree species.
Minister for Environment & Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, said;
“Landowners and forest managers acknowledge the threat from Chalara (or Ash dieback) and are acutely aware of the challenges that mitigating its impact presents. But they also recognise that Scotland has an opportunity to maintain a ‘sheltered area’ in the north west.
“This is where some of Scotland’s highest nature conservation value ash woodlands are to be found – and it is where we have the greatest chance of delaying the arrival of this disease in the wider environment. This will buy time both for owners to start develop resilience in their woodlands and for researchers to learn more about the disease and potentially identify disease resistant ash trees for future use.
“We need to work together and the Scottish Government, through Forestry Commission Scotland, will help woodland managers to meet the cost of removing and destroying infected trees from the sheltered and buffer areas.”
The Chalara Action Plan for Scotland identifies a “sheltered” area in north-west Scotland – where, as a special precaution, all recently planted ash trees on infected sites will need to be removed and destroyed under the terms of Statutory Plant Health Notices. An associated “buffer” area will also see the removal and destruction of recently planted ash trees showing signs of infection.
The grant support rates are:
• £550/net ha – where recently planted ash trees, including their roots, can be pulled out and burned.
• £1000/net ha – for larger, recently planted ash trees which need to be cut and then burned, with chemical treatment applied to their stumps to prevent re-growth.
• £1000/ net ha – for replanting with alternative tree species in those situations where the gaps created will prevent successful woodland establishment.
The grant support is an interim measure until the next round of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) comes into being, which should include specific provisions for grants relating to tree health measures.
Further information on the grants and how woodland owners can apply can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/chalaragrants
Notes to Editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
2. Maintaining a “sheltered” and “buffer” area is subject to review and would be likely to change if significant numbers or areas of infected sites are found there.
3. On infected sites in the buffer area, owners may voluntarily choose to also remove those recently planted ash trees not currently showing signs of infection. Support will be provided for this as well as support for replanting with alternative species.
4. There will be no requirement to clear ash on non-infected, recently planted sites within the sheltered or buffer areas. Owners may do so voluntarily but will not receive any assistance in meeting the costs of removal. However, grants paid for the initial planting will not be reclaimed if replanting with alternative species takes place (grants for this are expected to be made available under the next round of the SRDP).
5. Outwith the sheltered and buffer areas there will be no statutory requirement to remove recently planted ash trees from either infected or non-infected sites and there will be no payments made available for such work. Owners may, however, wish to voluntarily remove such trees on infected sites and apply for replanting grant for alternative species under the next SRDP. Where they do so, grants will not be reclaimed for the initial planting.
6. In Scotland there are now 111 confirmed sites where Chalara has been detected. (comprising three nurseries, 11 wider environment sites and 97 new planting sites)
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