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Ash Dieback

Ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus pseudofraxineus) is a relatively new disease to Britain. The disease originated in eastern Asia. It was introduced to eastern Europe in 1992 via Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and then moved through the Scandinavian countries. This disease has had a devastating effect on ash trees across Europe. Some countries have experienced a 95% loss of their ash tree population. It was formally identified in the UK in 2012.

The greatest impact so far has been in the east and south-east of England. But the disease has now spread to most parts of the UK.  The first confirmed cases in Cornwall occurred in 2014. It has now been identified at locations across Cornwall, and as far west as Penwith. Ash dieback is more widespread in the east and centre of the county, with some mature ash trees in these areas showing signs of decline. There are some parts of Cornwall where its presence has not yet been confirmed. However, it is likely that it will spread to these areas in the next couple of years. 

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Recent research by FERA (in collaboration with The Woodland Trust) shows that the total cost to the UK public and private sectors of ash dieback is estimated to be £15 billion.

The Forestry Commission produce an interactive map which shows the spread of the disease since 2012. It is regularly updated to show the current situation

Cornwall Council are following the approach used by other local authorities where the disease is more advanced. We are constantly monitoring the development of the disease across Cornwall. 

We are also monitoring our own trees for signs of the disease. We intend to manage the risk posed by diseased ash through our Tree Risk Management Framework. We are raising awareness within council staff and services, and training officers that attend and manage sites. This will ensure familiarity with the disease and the actions that need to be taken when it is identified.  We are preparing an Ash Dieback Action Plan to manage the growing impact of the disease on our trees and woodlands. This plan will guide our actions on Cornwall Council land and provide appropriate guidance to others.

It is important to note that all trees on private land are the responsibility of the landowner. This responsibility extends to the maintenance, felling and removal of diseased trees. Cornwall Council is only responsible for trees on Cornwall Council land. See the Responsibilities - Landowners and Cornwall Council page for further information.