To protect the future of uninfected ash trees, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), together with its strategic partner, Landmarc Support Services (Landmarc), is carrying out a tree-felling clearance scheme to remove infected trees, beginning in early 2020.
A replanting scheme will also take place to replace lost trees in accordance with the requirements of the felling licences. The DIO and Landmarc are also working closely with Wiltshire Council to manage the effect on roads and any potential road closures.
Chris Sorensen, south west woodland resilience officer, from the Forestry Commission said:
“Since ash dieback was identified in 2012, we have been working with a range of stakeholders and have invested more than £37 million into tree health research, including funding research into the biology and pathology of the disease.
We encourage all owners of woodland to think strategically about the management of their ash trees and adopt best practice to help reduce the impact of the disease.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation consulted with us and agreed a plan of action to tackle this damaging tree disease which includes the commencement of felling operations in the interests of public safety.”
The work will take place in phases and should be completed in approximately three years. Tree health surveying and monitoring will be continuing once felling is complete. The first phase of felling will target Ashdown Copse and along the A345, and will run until the end of March 2020, when work will stop to protect nesting birds. Phase two will begin in September 2020 to continue work at Ashdown Copse, as well as other locations where Ash Dieback has been identified including Erlestoke, Everleigh, Heytesbury, Warminster and along neighbouring roadsides.
Areas where work is taking place will be closed to the public for safety reasons. Areas available for recreation will be signed as open to the public.