Belfast Telegraph

Grant support to aid woodland owners affected by Chalara ash dieback

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Forestry Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced grant support for woodland owners of recently planted ash trees affected by Chalara ash dieback to replant their woodland with alternative tree species.

The Minister said: “Owners of young woodland containing ash trees should remain vigilant for any symptoms of Chalara ash dieback and report suspect sightings to my Department. To reduce the risk of the disease becoming established in our mature ash woodland and hedgerows, DARD will continue to require owners to destroy affected ash trees and associated debris. Forest Service will offer help to private woodland owners participating in a forestry grant scheme to carry out this work.

“To encourage woodland owners affected by the disease to replant their woodland, my Department will make grant support available to do so under the Woodland Environment Grant Scheme.”

The Scheme will be operated by Forest Service and grant will be paid at 50% of competitively tendered approved reasonable costs to support eligible operations and verified by inspection and production of receipts. To build further resilience in woodland in response to the growing risk of tree disease, the scheme will require replanting to result in at least three tree species to form significant components of the woodland.

The Minister concluded: “My long term aim is to increase woodland cover in the north and by taking this action to support replanting in Chalara affected woodland, I hope to ensure that we continue to benefit from these woodlands both now and in the future.”

Further information about Chalara Ash dieback symptoms is available on the Department’s website: and grant support information is available on the Forest Service website:

Notes to editors:

1. Ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea) is a very damaging organism of certain species of ash (Fraxinius spp.) including our native ash (F. excelsior). The first findings in the north of ash dieback were confirmed on 16 November 2012. As a result of general surveillance and trace forward exercises to date, 84 premises have been confirmed positive for the fungus Chalara fraxinea. 81 of these are recently planted sites across all counties, with an additional three findings in nursery retail and trade situations.

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