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Action call on fight to stop ash dieback

Environmentalists are calling for stronger and more immediate action in the fight against the disease that threatens to wipe ash trees from Scotland's landscape.

It comes after the Scottish Government agreed an interim plan to tackle Chalara ash dieback over the next few months, before the infectious stage of the disease becomes active, but some are demanding more action now.

The number of sites north of the Border where the disease has been confirmed is now at 26, with the addition of three areas of new ash trees near Duntocher, Dunbartonshire, and near Largoward and Kennoway in Fife.

A new Tree Health Advisory Group will now work with Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and the Scottish Government to improve management of infected trees and work with the nursery sector to develop long-term resilience to Chalara and other plant health threats.

Stuart Housden, RSPB Scotland director, said it was only a partial step towards tackling the plethora of new pests and diseases reaching Scotland.

"We need a stronger approach to prevent these threats from arriving in the first place," he said.

"Now is not the time to give up the fight on ash dieback, and there is still a role for sensitively removing newly planted infected trees where this helps halt the spread and protect mature native ash woods, particularly in the uplands, as well as ash trees in hedgerows and towns."

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Local government

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