Dec 6 2012 by John Rowbotham, Hamilton Advertiser
Another ash dieback site has been identified in South Lanarkshire.
The disease threatening Britain’s 80 million ash trees has been detected in woodland between East Kilbride and Hamilton.
Neither Forestry Commission Scotland nor South Lanarkshire are able to say exactly where the site is as it is privately owned.
However it brings to four the number of sites in South Lanarkshire where the deadly fungus has been found.
The others are: Auchlochan, Lesmahagow, Leadhills and East Kilbride. None of the sites is thought to be council owned, and all four are classed by the FCS as “new plantings”.
Last week, Scottish Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse confirmed there were 23 affected sites across Scotland. They are among 241 UK areas where ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea) has been found.
It is thought that the disease came into Britain through infected nursery stock. It has spread rapidly.
Advice from Scandinavia appears to suggest that halting the spread of the disease will not be possible and the most appropriate action is to allow the infection to run its course and then identify resistant strains and use their seed to replace dead trees..
South Lanarkshire Council arboricultural manager John Ferguson and his team are keeping a close eye on ash trees across the area .
He said: “If ash dieback is detected in any new planting, we will follow the guidance provided and remove and burn any infected plants.
“Although we will also follow the guidelines and retain infected mature trees, we would obviously remove any dead ash tree from an urban setting on the grounds of health and safety.
“But in the interests of ecology, we allow dead trees to remain in situ within a woodland setting.
“The ash is a long-lived species and is important for wildlife, as provides an important habitat for more than a quarter of Britain’s lichen.
Mr Ferguson said there was no risk to human health from ash dieback, and neither was there any need to restrict public access to woodlands.
However, he urged people out walking not to inadvertently carry ash leaves from one woodland area to another.
Mr Ferguson explained that the spread of the infection was active only when the leaves were on the ash trees.
Once leaf cover is again fully in place next summer, the infection will be easier to identify.
An inspection programme by the council’s grounds services and countryside ranger staff will be introduced to ensure early detection of the disease.