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Ash disease found in East Sussex

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Ash dieback disease (Chalara fraxinea) - developing lesions associated with leaf scars

Issued jointly with Defra

A further case of the tree disease Chalara dieback of ash has been confirmed in woodland in East Sussex.

Following the urgent survey to seek out traces of the disease in our woods and forests, East Sussex is the eleventh county in England where Chalara has been discovered in the wider environment (forests and woodlands): the other counties are Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, West Sussex, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Northumberland. Cases have also been confirmed in the wider environment in Scotland.

The disease has now been confirmed in 237 sites in the UK, including 127 locations in the wider environment. Chalara is likely to have been in this country for at least two years, but was only recently discovered in British forests and woodland as a result of the intensive survey of sites across the UK where ash trees are known to be present.

Martin Ward, the Chief Plant Health Officer, said:

“Although the rate at which we are discovering new areas infected with the Chalara fraxinea fungus is slowing, there are still results coming through from our surveying exercise earlier this month and reports from landowners and the public. The better informed we are, the more effective we can be in our work to contain the spread and impact of this disease.”

Common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is a native British species of tree, providing about five per cent of all woodland cover. Chalara dieback is a serious disease which has affected a high proportion of ash trees in northern Europe, and which was confirmed as present in nursery stock in the UK in March 2012.

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