Councillor Takes a Stand for Worcester’s Woodlands

Cllr Sarah Murray

In a passionate plea at the Worcester City Council meeting on Tuesday (28/11), Liberal Democrat Councillor for Warndon Parish North, Sarah Murray, put forward a motion to confront the looming threat of Ash Dieback that endangers the city’s woodlands.

Cllr Murray urged council members to act swiftly in safeguarding these precious green spaces.

Calling attention to the severity of Ash Dieback’s impact on the UK’s ash trees, Cllr Murray
emphasised the urgent need for action. She criticised the significant delays in tackling this issue, highlighting the escalating economic costs of the delay and proposing a shift in priorities.

The motion passed, albeit with some amendments.

Cllr Murray who was elected in May said, “We can’t just talk about it; we need to do something,
it’s time to prioritise our woodlands and take steps to protect them.”

“My motion is a call to action. Words alone won’t save our woodlands. Let’s act now and ensure the well-being of our city’s green spaces. Sadly, it could already be too late to save New
Plantation Wood which has not been properly managed since it was first planted. We cannot sit back and watch things deteriorate. We must put a responsible plan in place.”

Ash Die Back is a non-native invasive fungus that presents a major threat to trees across the
UK. At its current rate, the disease is predicted to infect over 80% Ash across the UK, the
economic costs are projected to run into the billions, and it will take decades for the Ash
population to recover, if recovery is possible.

Trees can survive Ash Die Back, but year-on-year infections will eventually kill them. The rate of loss of Ash across the UK currently outweighs the rate of woodland creation and tree planting.

The Liberal Democrat motion has tasked the Council’s Environment Committee to consider
options to tackle the disease.

Parish Councillor John Rudge added, “The Warndon Woods are a real asset to our community,
and residents are passionate about keeping our woodlands healthy and open. I’m so pleased
that Cllr Murray’s motion has passed and that tackling Ash Die Back is now high up on the
Council’s agenda”

Councillor Murray concluded, ‘I look forward to a swift response from the City Council in tackling this very serious problem.’

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