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Farron welcomes action on Ash Dieback

January 21, 2013 1:30 PM

TF ruralTighter controls on the import of native species of trees have been announced by Defra and welcomed by South Lakes MP Tim Farron.

The new regulations to track the import of oak, ash, sweet chestnut and plane trees from countries within the EU came into force last week. This will allow plant health inspectors to target their inspections and to track saplings if there are any suspicions that they carry a pest or disease.

Businesses that import tree plants, and the people who purchase the plants, will have additional confidence that any pests or diseases will be detected early on.

Tim has called on the government to make sure that Cumbria is taking the national lead in protecting our ash trees from Ash dieback disease. There are now 339 cases in the UK according to the Forestry Commission. Within Cumbria we have had 8 confirmed cases of the disease.

Ash dieback, which has wiped out swathes of trees in Europe, was discovered in Buckinghamshire in February 2011. Young trees are particularly susceptible. There are nearly 2,500 hectares of ash woodland and well over 500,000 ash trees in Cumbria.

Tim said: "This action is very welcome but we need to do more. I want the Government to step up it's efforts and be pro-active to ensure there is no further spread of the disease. For a community like ours, which loves our forests and relies on it for tourism, we need the Government to make our area a priority - the good news is that the new controls will help protect Cumbria's forests."