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Marc Liebrecht, Manager of Forestry and Arboriculture at Carter Jonas, advises on the availability of grants for the removal of trees with dieback ash.
Q: Are there grants to remove trees with dieback ash? If necessary, the affected area should become the building site for a new farm.
However, it would be interesting to know in any case whether there are subsidies for the felling and clearing of the affected trees.
Also, are there any replanting grants and do you have any advice on what species to use if you are replanting an affected area?
A: Ash dieback is a disease that has plagued Europe for 30 years and is expected to kill around 80% of ash trees in the UK.
Affected trees are brittle and more likely to fall. The action needed to treat an affected tree depends on its environment.
When it is near a road, trail, third party boundary, or building, you will need to act quickly to minimize the safety risk.
In contrast, trees in woods without public access or isolated trees in fields require less urgent attention.
It is always a good idea to have ash trees inspected by an arborist, but you may decide, for financial or biodiversity reasons, to let certain trees fall naturally.
For trees that need to be felled, it is very important to use an experienced contractor, as weak wood makes felling more dangerous.
Subsidies are available, but they do not directly cover the cost of culling.
Under normal circumstances, you can recoup some of some of the associated costs, such as road closures, a facilitator, and a survey to help with planning.
Funding is also provided for resupply, including capital and maintenance for up to three years.
The amounts available depend on a variety of factors, including whether or not the affected trees are in forests and, if so, whether they are old-growth forests.
Up to £5,000/ha is available for restocking old growth forests and £3,950/ha for other forests.
An amount per tree for trees out of the woods, depending on the size and type of tree, is offered up to a maximum of £270.44.
However, if the felling of trees is part of a development application, it will not be eligible for any subsidy.
In addition to the grant, remember that even the affected trees have value as wood, although it will be more valuable if it is less brittle. The location of the trees is relevant, as they must be accessible.
But the fact that the affected area becomes a building plot suggests that all will be well in this regard.
Roadside value for firewood (wood felled, but not seasoned or split) can be around £40-50/tonne.
In terms of species to be replanted, the answer depends on the area concerned. In old growth forests, native hardwood species are most suitable – aspen, sycamore and elm for example – and I would recommend a mix to ensure resilience.
Elsewhere you can introduce, in addition to these three, non-native hardwoods and conifers – just make sure you have a mix and choose species suitable for the type of terrain, site conditions and rainfall levels. .
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