Trust seeks life after die back

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The Lawshall-based Green Light Trust has launched an appeal to ensure life in our trees after ash die back.

Its Phoenix Project, launched on Wednesday, aims to raise at least £30,000 to employ a dedicated advisor to help cope with the fungal disease that has killed of 90 per cent of Denmark’s ash.

The trust’s own community wood at Lawshall has been hit by the chalara fraxinea fungus on its locally grown ashes and is one of 115 sites across 10 counties where the disease has now been confirmed after a nationwide survey. It is thought these wild outbreaks are from wind-borne spores.

Mark Pritchard, the trust’s chief executive, said: “We need somebody who can give this the time it wants.

“Green Light Trust’s particular strength is our ability to engage with local communities and talk to them on their terms.”

The person will guide the trust’s own response to the disease and help the 59 partner community organisations that have created wild spaces across Eastern England. They will also help other communities, whether concerned about a wood or a single tree.

Mr Pritchard said help could range from giving advice on alternative species to plant to helping communities check trees. In addition, those communities could help pinpoint trees showing resistance to the disease which might secure the ash’s future.

The trust fears it and its partners could lose 20,000 ash trees planted since 1994.

The Government has banned ash tree imports, their movement around the UK and the movement of plant materials from affected sites. The University of East Anglia has an ash reporting app for iPhones and Android smartphones at www.ashtag.org where you can also report trees online.