East Anglia leads the UK’s fight against ash dieback

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East Anglia will be spearhead a £1.5 million project to find Chalara-resistant ash trees.

The Government plan is to plant quarter of a million ash trees at 25 sites, mostly in East Anglia, and expose them to the fungal infection which causes ash dieback with the aim of finding plants resistant to it.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “We know we can’t stop Chalara infecting our ash trees so we have to throw our resources into managing it and slowing the spread. A key part of that strategy will be identifying those trees which have a natural resistance to the disease so that we can re-stock our woodlands in the future.

“This project of monitoring 250,000 young ash trees is unprecedented in its scope. The UK is leading the way internationally on trying to identify resistant strains.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said sites across Norfolk and Suffolk are being identified. Many will be Forestry Commission land but private landowners are also providing sites.