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Temporary suspension of ash planting to prevent spread of disease

The decision comes following the spread of Chalara fraxinea in the UK and Ireland.

A general view of a young Common Ash Tree with wilting leaves
A general view of a young Common Ash Tree with wilting leaves
Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A TEMPORARY SUSPENSION of ash planting has been announced by the Department of Agriculture, following the spread of Chalara fraxinea.

Legislation to restrict the importation of ash into Ireland was introduced in early November to try and prevent the further spread of the disease

Minister of State at the department, Shane McEntee TD, announced a temporary suspension of the grant aiding of new ash plantations under the Department’s afforestation scheme.

He said this will take place until more information is gathered regarding surveillance results, the risk of the disease establishing in Ireland and the effects it might have on existing ash plantations.

This was described as a “precautionary decision” that will not affect landowners who have already planted with ash.

The Minister said that all registered foresters are being advised of this suspension and of the facility to substitute ash with another species for all future applications under the afforestation schemes.

Department staff have been carrying out targeted surveillance inspections over the last three weeks of sites planted with imported ash, forest and non-forest nurseries, roadsides and farms. The full picture from this survey will not be known until the New Year.

Minister McEntee said:

It is important that we continue our aim of eradication of the disease and I am pleased that the Department has now provided training on the winter symptoms of the disease to staff internally but also to Teagasc foresters, Coillte staff and to private forestry contractors.

The Minister added that he has discussed the issue of planting ash at length with his Northern Ireland colleague Minister Michelle O’ Neill MLA.

As of 27 November, the UK had 257 confirmed cases of the disease, mostly in the wild.

Read: FF calls for strong enforcement of measures to prevent ash dieback spread>

Read: Further restrictions on ash imports imposed as disease continues to spread>

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