Scotland politics

Chalara ash dieback hits more Scottish sites

Wilting leaves
Image caption Ash dieback is threatening to devastate Britain's 80 million ash population

The number of sites in Scotland confirmed as having a disease threatening to devastate the UK's ash trees has risen to 23.

Chalara ash dieback has been found at one nursery, 18 recently-planted sites and in four further areas.

Scottish Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, who confirmed the figures, said work was being done to combat the fungal disease.

Chalara ash dieback is affecting a total of 241 sites across the UK.

Mr Wheelhouse told the Scottish Parliament's environment committee: "We have been working very closely with the UK government and other devolved administrations on this problem.

"Although our native ash is not a major component of woods and forests in Scotland, it is an important feature of our landscape, has considerable biodiversity value and is also one of the most productive broadleaf species in terms of timber and firewood."

The Forestry Commission said the sites currently affected in Scotland are:

  • A nursery in the north east
  • Planting site managed by Forestry Commission Scotland at Knockmountain, near Kilmacolm
  • Mature tree site at Eyemouth
  • Natural environment sites near Kinghorn, Coldstream and near Buckie.
  • New planting sites near Carrbridge, Blairgowrie, Montrose, Dalbeattie Wood near Castle Douglas, Hamilton, south of Lesmahagow, Scone, Leadhills, Cowdenbeath, Burnfoot, Croy in North Lanarkshire, East Kilbride, Alyth, Cleish in Kinross, Duntocher, Largoward and Kennoway.

A national plan to control the spread of the disease is expected to be published shortly.

And a report on the economic and ecological impact of the disease in Scotland is expected from forestry expert Dr Rick Worrell

Ash dieback is threatening to devastate Britain's 80 million ash population.