20 July 2018

Britain must cherish its trees or lose them

BRITAIN MUST CHERISH ITS TREES OR LOSE THEM, argues the Times.  Prince Charles wants everyone who buys a sapling, bush or plant from a garden centre to ask where they came from and examine them for signs of pestilence.  This is right.  The recent felling of 110,000 mature trees by City councils such as Sheffield, and the secretive tree-felling operations of Network Rail, will seem like kindling compared with the bonfires that will have to be lit if diseases take hold.  Britain lost 30m elms to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s.  Many of London’s horse chestnuts have been invaded by the leaf miner moth.  Millions of ash trees are at risk of ash dieback – in Denmark where it is rife, it has affected 90% of ash trees.  Much of these come via imports – in 2016 England and Wales imported over £1bn worth of trees and shrubs which are rarely inspected.