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Call for £1m ash dieback programme funding for Norfolk

Councillors are calling for national funding of £1million to tackle ash dieback in Norfolk over the next two years.

A report is due to be presented to the County Council's Cabinet next week which will provide an update on the ongoing work, at a local and national level, to manage the disease threatening one of the country’s favourite trees.

Cllr Andy Grant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for environment and waste, said: “I’m proud that our proactive work has seen us help to inform national policy on this disease. The team are continuing to work with the Government and specialists at the John Innes Centre and Forest Research on this national issue.

Ash dieback reduces the canopy of trees and blackens leaves.. (43835581)
Ash dieback reduces the canopy of trees and blackens leaves.. (43835581)

“What’s now clear from our detailed work is the scale of the issue we need to manage, and the costs likely to be involved. The support from Defra to date has been excellent and we would like to see a commitment from the Government to fund a national programme to manage ash dieback.”

Experts have revealed studies that suggest half of all the 168,000 roadside ash trees in Norfolk will have advanced decline by 2023. The majority of those ash trees are privately owned with just 20,200 owned by the county council.

Councillors will be considering the recommendation to increase financial support for managing ash dieback to £1million. This would cover the cost of tree safety work, key biodiversity enhancement projects, strategic habitat restoration, awareness raising among landowners, inspecting and reporting over the next two years.

The initial programme would manage ash dieback over the next two years with a view to developing a comprehensive 10 year programme, as stated in the report.

Cabinet will discuss the report at their 10am meeting on Tuesday, January 12. You can read the reports and view the meeting live – or a recording afterwards – at https://norfolkcc.cmis.uk.com/norfolkcc/Meetings/tabid/128/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/496/Meeting/1671/Committee/169/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx

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