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Forestry Commission Scotland is continuing to build up a country-wide map of the extent of Chalara across the country – with 40 sites now confirmed.
These include sites from the rapid response survey undertaken back in November 2012 where 2730 sites were investigated.
Work is now ongoing with trace-forward of plants from tree nurseries where infections have been detected and further surveys are also being carried out around infections in the wider environment.
Environment & Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:
“We continue to work closely with the UK Government on seeking to minimise the impact of this disease and in pressing for a review of the EU Plant Health regime but we are now focusing on developing a Scotland specific Chalara action plan.
“I will be chairing a further Tree Health Summit on 6 March, and feedback from that meeting will help inform the final report of the Scottish Tree Health Advisory Group, which is due in April.
"Any strategy that we adopt will involve a mix of immediate and longer term actions to reduce the rate of spread of the disease while also seeking to identify any natural resistance in the native ash population. This will form part of wider efforts to build resilience in our natural environments and will require the help and support of wider society as well as landowners and industry.
“There can be no quick fix. Chalara is here to stay. But we will give ourselves the best chance of ensuring ash remains – in some measure - a feature in the Scottish landscape by applying co-ordinated research effort, remaining vigilant for new outbreaks and taking targeted action where it is most likely to reduce the rate of spread or severity of the disease.”
Ash represents less than 1% of Scotland’s net woodland area, but it is a valuable native species in ecological terms.
The countryside remains open and there is no risk to human health. People who are visiting an infected or suspected wood should take due precautions when visiting and leaving the woodland such as removing any mud, plant material or leaves from boots, tyres and wheels of bicycles and buggies. No firewood, sticks or leaves should be removed.
For more advice on chalara, please refer to the Forestry Commission’s website www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara.
Notes to Editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2. As of 25 January the 40 sites in Scotland comprised 2 nurseries, 30 new planting sites and 8 wider environment sites. (Across the rest of Britain, 17 nurseries, 144 recent planting sites and 166 “wider environment” have been confirmed as having Chalara present).
3. For news, events and recreation information log on to
www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests For Twitter: www.twitter.com/fcscotland
4. Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
5. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.