Ash tree killer disease now found at 11 Scottish sites

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A DISEASE threatening to devastate Britain’s ash trees has now been found at 11 sites in Scotland, the First Minister has revealed.

The figure for sites infected by Chalara ash dieback was recorded yesterday. The total has risen by four since Wednesday.

At Holyrood yesterday, Alex Salmond was questioned on the impact of fungal diseases on Scottish trees.

Describing the issue as “hugely important”, he told MSPs: “Members will be aware that ash dieback has been detected at some sites in Scotland.

“Over the weekend and the start of this week, Forestry Commission officials worked around the clock completing a rapid survey to identify potential distribution of the disease in Scotland.

“I’m sure the chamber will join me in thanking all of those who helped undertake this work.

“We’ve also responded to requests for assistance from Forestry Commission England this week and sent 15 staff to help complete their survey.”

The First Minister added: “I can inform the chamber that, as of this morning, there were 11 sites in Scotland with confirmed signs of the disease.

“Because infection from ash dieback is seasonal, we have a window of opportunity to further develop our plans to mitigate its impact.”

Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse is due 
to convene a summit meeting on the issue on Tuesday.