Nov 15 2012 by Julie Gilbert, Hamilton Advertiser
A disease threatening to destroy Britain’s countryside has found its way to Lanarkshire.
Chalara, which affects ash trees, has been discovered in Lesmahagow, Leadhills and East Kilbride.
The disease is spreading across Europe. And, if not controlled correctly, could result in thousands of trees needing felled. As ash is the third most common broad-leaf tree in the UK, a large decline in their population could devastate the countryside and wildlife.
The Forestry Commission confirmed the affected site, near Lesmahagow, concerned areas of new planting on Forestry Commission land at Auchlochan. The Leadhills and East Kilbride sites are private land.
The three Lanarkshire sites are among 14 new confirmed chalara cases in Scotland. Last week South Lanarkshire Council said there were none in the area. However, the Forestry Commission confirmation arrived days later.
Scotland’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, held a chalara summit on Tuesday when it was decided mass destruction of trees would not take place.
Instead, environmental agencies will investigate woodland management techniques to help slow down the spread of the disease, as well as identify mature ash trees resistant to the disease with the aim of growing further resistant trees. Chalara infection is transmitted in the summer months but people should try and not carry leaves or other plant matter on their boots or equipment.