Urgent tree removal works

The UK is in the grip of an Ash dieback plague that is forecast to wipe out 95% of Ash trees in the UK. The airborne fungus has rapidly spread and left hundreds of trees in Lewes dead or dying.

The fungus stops water from moving around the tree, so nutrients are cut off and the tree gradually dies.

Once infected, a diseased tree becomes dangerous, with branches or the tree itself at a high risk of falling onto roads, footpaths and property. Although scientists are hopeful of developing resistant strains of Ash tree, currently there is no preventative treatment or cure available.

Many affected trees are positioned on a very steep slope next to the A275, Offham Road – on the Western side just South of the Offham chalk pit – on land owned by Lewes Town Council . They present a very real danger to road users, and anyone walking in the vicinity.

Working closely with specialist officers at Lewes District and Eastbourne Borough Councils (who also own large areas of land with affected trees) and the Forestry Commission, we know which trees must be removed as a matter of urgency, albeit with deep regret. The Forestry Commission has issued the council with a licence to undertake the work, and this will be managed on our behalf by the specialist advisers.

To better limit the impact on wildlife, the operation can only take place during the winter months, outside the main nesting and breeding season. The work will take two weeks. Inevitably, it will mean limited road closures that will cause disruption but contractors will do all that they can to mitigate this.

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