Axed school trees will be replaced vows Preston headteacher

The headteacher of a school where 65 diseased ash trees are to be axed has vowed to replace them.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 3:45 pm

Scott Martland admitted he was "saddened" that the woodland in the grounds of St Andrew's CofE Primary in Ashton, Preston, which pupils call "The Wilderness," is being decimated due to ash dieback.

The trees have been condemned and are to be cleared after Lancashire County Council asked permission from the city council to chop them down.

Mr Martland said: "It saddens me that 65 of our ash trees will need to be cut down, due to being infected with ash dieback.

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The school woodland called the 'Wilderness' has been decimated by ash dieback.

"Our Wilderness area is wonderful environment for our children, which will now be changed dramatically.

"It is a great disappointment, but unfortunately there is no other option than to fell the trees.

"Of course, we will work hard to re-plant trees in the area as soon as possible with the help of our children and school community."

Ash dieback, a highly infectious fungal disease, has no known cure and almost always results in the death of trees. It is widespread across Lancashire and nationally has resulted in the deaths of millions of ash trees.

Two of the affected trees at St Andrew's are along the perimeter of the school playing fields in Tulketh Road, with the other 63 in the woodland which separates the school grounds and the next door headquarters of charity Caritas Care.

An LCC spokesman said: "We have been working closely with St Andrews Primary School for some time to monitor the condition of ash trees on the site which are affected by ash dieback, a highly destructive disease which is now present across 96 per cent of Lancashire.

"Unfortunately there is no cure for the disease, and it is fatal in the majority of cases.

"The ash trees at St Andrews Primary School are now in such a poor condition that they need to be felled to address the potential risk to people's safety.

"As the school site is within a conservation area we are applying to Preston City Council for permission to fell them.

"People have a duty to ensure their trees do not become a risk to people or property, and we would urge anyone with ash trees on their property to look at the information on our website to learn how to recognise the symptoms of the disease, and take advice from a suitably qualified arboriculturist."