Action on Ash Dieback

Phase two

The first phase of the felling work started in December 2019 and focused on the woodland adjacent to Butts Lane and Butts Brow car park in Willingdon and particularly badly affected trees in the Old Town area.

To see images from phase one of the work

Phase two will begin in November 2020. 

Our contractors will be working close to Upper Dukes Drive in Meads and behind Longland Road and around Pashley Down Infant School in Old Town.

Upper Dukes Drive will be closed for a short time to allow the work to be completed safely.  A diseased tree becomes weakened, with branches or the tree itself at risk of falling onto footpaths, roads and property.

The spread of ash dieback – aerial footage

This video footage was taken in 2019 from a helicopter that flew over the woodland between Butts Brow in Willingdon and Meads.

It is a stark depiction of the scale of the problem – the grey areas of the woodland canopy are dead and dying ash trees.

FAQs

Why cut down trees with ash dieback?

Diseased trees are a potential safety risk. Branches or the tree itself could fall, presenting a risk to footpaths, roads and property.

Can people continue to use the woodland walks?

Yes. The only areas that will be inaccessible are where our contractors are working.

How long will the work take?

The whole project could take up to five years to complete.

What will happen to the downland in the areas where the diseased trees are removed?

While ash dieback is a deadly and dreadful disease, the removal of the trees will lead to very significant improvements in biodiversity. It will create new glades and small meadows that will encourage insects and chalk grassland species, old dew ponds will be reawakened as a water source for wildlife, replanting with mixed species will mitigate against global warming and avoid a future vulnerable monoculture and the ‘lost’ panoramic views from the upper reaches of the local downland will be restored.

How are you limiting the impact on wildlife?

All the cutting and removal of dead trees will take place during the winter months, outside of the nesting and breeding season. We have wildlife and ecology experts overseeing the work and doing everything possible to limit the impact.

How does the disease spread?

Details of how the disease is spread are uncertain, but local spread may be from rain splash or even transmission by insects. Over longer distances the risk of disease spread is most likely to be via the movement of diseased ash plants. Movement of logs or un-sawn wood from infected trees may also be a pathway for the disease.

Is there a cure for ash dieback?

No, there is no cure or preventative treatment.

Where will the felling begin?

The first phase of the felling work started in December 2019 and focused on the woodland adjacent to Butts Lane and Butts Brow car park in Willingdon and particularly badly affected trees in the Old Town area.  Phase two will start in November 2020.  Our contractors will be working close to Upper Dukes Drive in Meads and behind Longland Road and around Pashley Down Infant School in Old Town.

What communications are you putting in place to inform people?

We have a comprehensive plan of communications in place. This includes information online through this website, letters to people and organisations in the areas where our contractors are working, signage at access points to the woodland and downland, regular updates on the council’s social media channels and in the Eastbourne Herald newspaper.

What will happen to the dead trees?

The trees will be taken to a biomass energy facility. The council will receive payments for the timber that will broadly offset the cost of the tree removal operation.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can be visible on leaves, shoots and branches of affected trees. In severe cases, the entire crown shows leaf loss and dieback and there may also be the formation of epicormic shoots on branches and the trunk.

  • Foliage leaves – these can suffer from wilting and black-brownish discolouration. Dieback of shoots and twigs is also very characteristic.
  • Branches and stems – small lens-shaped lesions or necrotic spots appear on the bark of stems and branches and enlarge to form perennial cankers. These cause wilting and dieback of shoots and branches, particularly in the upper crown.
  • Underneath the bark lesions, the wood has a brownish to grey discolouration which often extends longitudinally beyond the bark necrosis.
  • Whole tree – trees with withered tops and shoots are very characteristic. Heavily affected trees have extensive shoot, twig and branch dieback.
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