Scottish action on Chalara and tree health

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The Scottish Government has agreed an interim control plan to tackle Chalara over the next few months, before the infectious stage of the disease becomes active. 

The key objectives of the plan are to reduce the rate of spread, develop better resistance to the disease, encourage engagement with the public, landowners and the industry, and build resilience in our woodland and associated industries.

To help take forward the control plan in Scotland, a new Tree Health Advisory Group is to be formed. 

The group, made up of environmental, forestry and land-based industries, will work with Forestry Commission Scotland and others in the Scottish Government to develop more detailed action plans for tackling Chalara and other serious tree diseases and pests in Scotland.

A major Scottish stakeholder summit on tree health is planned for March 2013 to bring organisations up to date with the latest developments and scientific thinking on Chalara and other tree diseases.

Environment & Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

“The Scottish Government has been fully engaged with the UK Government to create this interim control plan for Chalara.

“In Scotland we are continuing survey work to help map the extent of Chalara and provide a better evidence base for management decisions.

“The disease is not infectious until the summer months so we now have a window of opportunity to pull together the best plan of action for Scotland. In the meantime, the current import and movement ban on ash plants, trees and seeds will remain in place.

“I am asking Forestry Commission Scotland to bring together key stakeholders to form a Tree Health Advisory Group to ensure we have a suite of practical responses to tackle serious tree health threats head on.”

Specific Scottish actions for the Tree Health Advisory Group include:

• Exploring a more targeted approach to the management of infected trees:
• Developing a plant health network of trained people who can support official surveillance and detection including identification of resistant mature ash trees: and
• Working with the nursery sector in Scotland to develop long-term resilience to the impacts of Chalara and other plant health threats.

The group will also be able to use the findings of a study by independent consultant Dr Rick Worrell into the potential impacts of Chalara in Scotland.  This report is due to be completed in mid-December. 

Meanwhile, the independent Task Force on Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity, convened by the Defra Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Ian Boyd of St Andrews University, has published its interim report today.

The Scottish Government has already indicated that it will not request grant repayments where tree death resulting from Chalara prevents woodland establishment. The advisory group will be asked to consider how best to encourage reinstatement of those areas.

There are currently (as of December 5th) 26 confirmed cases of Chalara in Scotland out of 291 across the UK. The majority of Scotland’s cases (21) are in new planting sites, with 4 found in the wider environment and one private nursery in the north east of Scotland.

To view the interim control plan and find out more information on Chalara, visit

Notes to news editors

1) Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate

2) For news, events and recreation information log on to For Twitter:

3) 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.

4) The list of 26 sites now confirmed in Scotland are as follows:

• One nursery in the north east of Scotland
• One planting site (managed by FCS) at Knockmountain, near Kilmacolm
• Near Eyemouth – mature trees
• Wider environment site near Kinghorn.
•  Wider environment site at Coldstream. 
• Wider environment site Near Buckie.
• New planting sites at:
o Near Carrbridge;
o near Blairgowrie;
o near Montrose;
o near Castle Douglas (FCS site at Dalbeattie Wood)
o East Kilbride/ Hamilton
o South West of Lesmahagow (FCS site)
o near Scone
o near Leadhills
o near Cowdenbeath
o Burnfoot, Glendevon
o Croy, North Lanarkshire
o Near East Kilbride
o Near Alyth
o Near Cleish, Kinross
o Near Duntocher
o Near Largoward
o Near Kennoway
o Eskdale
o South of Lesmahagow (FCS site)
o near Path of Condie, Perth & Kinross

5)  Media enquiries on the Scottish Chalara actions to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508/7.