Chalara found in the wider environment in the sheltered area of northwest Scotland

Environment Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod has called for continued effort to adapt to the presence of Chalara dieback of ash in Scotland as Forestry Commission Scotland confirmed the presence of this disease at three locations in the “sheltered area”. 

The “sheltered area” was established in 2013 as part of the Commission’s Chalara Action Plan as it offered some prospect of delaying the arrival of the disease in mature woodlands in north-west Scotland.

Two of the locations where the disease has recently been confirmed are in Morvern, whilst the third is in Glen Nant, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserve south east of Oban.

Dr McLeod said;

“Forestry Commission Scotland and the forestry sector have worked extremely hard over the past three years surveying, investigating and managing ash woodlands in a bid to slow down the rate of spread of this disease and prevent new points of infection from recent plantings, particularly in the sheltered area.

“The sheltered area’s comparative remoteness offered some prospect of delaying the arrival of the disease but, regrettably, this now appears not to have been the case.

“I have asked Forestry Commission Scotland to review the Chalara Action Plan, with advice from the Scottish Tree Health Advisory Group, to assess what more can be done to promote adaptive action and to consider the appropriateness of current actions within the sheltered and buffer areas.”

Adaptive actions that could be undertaken would include finding trees with lower disease susceptibility, as well as collecting ash seed from across the country to help preserve a wide gene pool for future use.

By the end of April 2015, 37 ‘wider environment’ infections - infections not on newly planted trees - had been recorded within the buffer area. The infections at the three sheltered area locations are the first to be confirmed in the wider environment in the sheltered area – but it now seems unlikely they will be the only ones.

Advice on managing trees and woodland where Chalara is present is available online. 

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Tha FCS pàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba; a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìon, a' cumail smachd air, agus a' leudachadh choilltean gus buannachdan a choileanadh dha coimhearsnachdan, dhan eaconamaidh agus ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh sa ghnàth-shìde.
  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.