Action to tackle Ash Dieback is set to continue on road network

“Private landowners are strongly advised to check their trees for signs of Ash Dieback"

A healthy Ash tree, left, and a tree, right, showing signs of Ash Dieback, with its significantly-reduced crown

Release date: 26 August 2022

For the sake of public safety, action continues to be taken to remove trees affected by Ash Dieback along our West Sussex major road network.

Ash Dieback is a highly destructive disease which, sadly, is predicted to kill up to 95 per cent of our Ash trees in this country: leaves start to wilt/die, trees become weak and brittle and have the potential to shed branches or even fall.

Last year, 1,500 Ash trees were felled on A and B roads in West Sussex. Now, on high-speed and high traffic-flow routes, we plan to remove more in the felling season – ie, outside of the main bird nesting season.

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring we have a healthy and diverse tree population to support wildlife and, where practicable, we will do all we can to save trees, for example, those showing resilience which we will monitor yearly when in leaf. We will also, where possible, only remove the risk elements of the tree to retain viable wildlife habitat where it won’t cause a risk to safety.

“However, Ash Dieback is dangerous to our highway network and its users, and we are taking steps to remove severely-infected Ash trees on County Council-owned land that pose a risk, as well as inform the bordering landowners of their own responsibilities.”

In the 2022/2023 felling season (September 2022 to March 2023, dependant on seasonal weather conditions and subsequent bird nesting) we shall be working on the following major roads, amongst other sites and routes within the County:

  • A24 – Southwater area
  • A281 – Horsham to the county boundary
  • A283 – Shoreham Flyover to the Washington Roundabout
  • A285 - to be confirmed
  • A29 - to be confirmed

Arboriculturists are also currently undertaking surveys on C and D-classified roads.

The spokesperson continued: “Private landowners are strongly advised to check their trees for signs of Ash Dieback. If dark coloured, dead leaves are present among live foliage, this is an indication that Ash Dieback could be taking hold. If the crown of your Ash tree is looking thin and bare, suspect Ash Dieback disease.”

The Tree Council has produced a downloadable Ash Dieback Guide, with pictures, for homeowners and those with Ash trees on their land. For people without online access, the Tree Council can be contacted on 0207 4079992.

If still concerned or unsure, Ash tree owners should seek advice from a qualified arboriculturist. People without online access can contact the Arboricultural Association on 01242 522152 for a list of approved contractors in the local area.

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