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Gloucestershire Business News

Work preventing the spread of ash dieback

Highway crews are carrying out essential work around the county to reduce the risk of falling trees, by removing trees infected with ash dieback.

Ash dieback is a disease that causes leaf loss and dying branches, and can lead to the death of a tree. Diseased trees have an increased risk of collapsing which can be dangerous, especially if they fall on a road.

Ash dieback can spread tens of miles by wind-blown spores or by trees growing too close to infected ash trees. The disease attacks ash trees quickly and there is currently no prevention or treatment available. To prevent the spread, the county council's highways department needs to cut down the diseased trees to stop more from becoming diseased.

Ash trees are very common in Gloucestershire, and it's estimated between 27,000 to 32,000 trees on the county's roads will require attention over the coming years.

Road closures will be in place where work is being carried out, which will be clearly signposted.

A wide-scale tree planting programme is being developed as part of the county council's climate change strategy. The Million Trees Challenge is the council's aspiration to increase tree coverage in the county by 2030, working with members of the Local Nature Partnership. Suitable areas for tree planting are currently being identified and a strategy will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting next month. The first trees are expected to be planted later this year.

Councillor Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning at Gloucestershire County Council, said: "Cutting down any tree is a huge loss to our county's biodiversity, but this is something we must do to stop more trees becoming diseased. We are fully committed to stopping this disease, saving as many trees as we can and undertaking a programme of tree planting throughout the county."

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