Tree Diseases and Village Green Legislation

The latest BBC Countryfile programme covers both these topics, so its worth viewing the whole programme.

Countryfile presenter with tree felling machine

“Britain’s trees are currently under threat from a range of deadly diseases. The most well-known is ‘Ash dieback’, but in the Forest of Dean it’s the commercially valuable larch trees that are most at risk. Phytopthora Ramorum is a fungus-like pathogen that can kill whole patches of larch in a year. Ellie finds out why protecting these trees requires tens of thousands of them to be prematurely felled”.

“Tom Heap investigates claims that ‘village green’ status is now being used as a tool to block housing developments in the countryside. In recent years lakes, beaches and even farmer’s fields have been put forward as potential village greens. In many cases, they have been protected to safeguard spaces that are regularly used by the public. But, is the law also being abused by people who just want to keep the land around them development-free? The government certainly thinks so and, as Tom discovers, they want to bring in new rules to limit the number of sites that can be protected”. If these changes are brought in they will not only affect the ability of people in rural communities to protect their public open spaces, but also us in cities trying to hold back the tide of development threatening to destroy our already extremely limited amount of green open space.

Countryfile: Forest of Dean

Available until 1:19PM Sun, 25 Nov 2012

Duration 60 minutes

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2 Responses to Tree Diseases and Village Green Legislation

  1. This is absolutely horrible, tens, of thousands??? Thats a gigantic amount of trees producing CO2 , this is bad. Is there any information on a possible solution to this?

    -Samudaworth Tree Service

    • Admin says:

      Thanks for your concern about the plight of our ash trees. There are various estimates of the number of ash trees in the UK – I have seen 80 million and 92 million stated. It is one of the most common species of tree in the UK – about 30% of all woodland. We are talking about the Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) not the unrelated Mountain Ash or Rowan (Sorbus species).
      There is more information here, including steps being taken to limit the spread of the disease. It is currently incurable – the one hope is that some trees may be immune and new stock could be grown from these, but this is a very long term prospect.

      Sorry, I just realised you were talking about the threat to larch trees by Phytophthora Ramorum also known as “sudden oak death”. There is a long article on Wikipedia about this here. The Countryfile item covered this particular threat as larch is a commercially prefered species in plantations owned by the Forestry Commission. Countryfile is a weekly news programme covering items of interest in the British countryside.

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