Herefordshire is to spend £315,000 over the next four years dealing with an lethal and incurable disease damaging the county’s trees.

The county council has agreed the sum to cope with ash dieback, first identified in the UK in 2012, which can slowly kill trees, lead to shedding of limbs or even entire trees falling.

It will pay for surveys to monitor trees’ health, removal of those deemed at risk, replanting with healthy, “more appropriate” trees, and will also cover the cost of “a specialised tree person to support the project”, the council’s decision notice said.


It reckons the county has over half a million ash trees, of which 2,600 have been individually recorded on council land.

Of particular concern are the 100,000 or so ash trees along the county’s roads, 95 per cent of which are in private ownership.

The surveying and replanting will be carried out as part of the council’s public realm contract with Balfour Beattie Living Places, while felling work, along with subcontracted surveying work, will be tendered for, “to ensure value for money”.

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The council warns that landowners are responsible for the safety of trees on their land, as the council is on its land. It also has a duty to maintain public highways and ensure public safety.

The council has meanwhile rejected the felling of a large ash in the middle of Leominster which is claimed to be showing symptoms of the disease.


Peter Hadley of Burgess Street in the town’s conservation area sought permission to fell the tree which he said and had already shed one limb onto overhead cables and into a neighbouring property.

Asking for it be kept, ward councillor Jenny Bartlett called it “one of the last large mature trees in the town centre”.

Given the “high public amenity value” of the tree, and “low impact” of ash dieback on it so far, council officials served a tree preservation order on the tree, obliging Mr Hadley to retain it.