As Worcester City Council continues its resolute efforts to combat the looming threat of Ash Dieback, significant progress has been made following Councillor Murray’s impactful motion to the full council. The city has not merely acknowledged the urgency of the Ash Dieback issue but has also formulated a comprehensive management plan. This blog post delves into the city’s proactive strategy, with special attention to Warndon Villages and a note on tree removals in Claines.
Acknowledging the Widespread Impact:
Ash Dieback, a pernicious fungal disease identified in 2012, poses a substantial risk to public safety and the vitality of our cherished ash trees.
Councillor Murray’s Motion:
Councillor Murray’s motion (which can be found HERE) to the full council has proven instrumental in catalysing a robust response. The city council, recognising the urgency, has crafted a detailed Ash Dieback Management Plan (which you can find HERE). This strategic document delineates a systematic approach and underscores the creation of a specialised team devoted to managing the disease.
Commitment to Minimising Removals:
A pivotal aspect of the council’s strategy is a resolute commitment to minimising tree removals. The management plan, employing a risk-based approach, allocates resources judiciously to reduce or remove individual trees that pose a high risk to health and safety. This approach ensures that unnecessary removals and prolonged closures of public spaces are avoided, allowing the continued safe enjoyment of our parks, nature reserves, and plantations.
Warndon Villages and Claines: Priority Areas:
The Ash Dieback Management Plan extends its focus to priority areas, with Warndon Villages taking centre stage. A ‘heat map’ identifies higher-risk zones, including New Plantation Woodland Edge, Warndon Woodland Edge, and Astwood Cemetery. The council has initiated monitoring processes for individual trees that will require eventual removal in these areas. Additionally, it is crucial to note that some trees in Claines had to be removed due to the severity of the disease.
The Next Steps: Crucial Budget Approval
As the city proactively addresses the Ash Dieback crisis, the next crucial step involves securing the necessary budget for the comprehensive management plan. Officers have identified a pressing need for £65,000 in the first year to execute the proposed strategies. This funding will undergo scrutiny by the Policy and Resources Committee, whose approval is essential for the successful implementation of the plan. It is paramount that this budget is approved to ensure the safety of residents and the preservation of our city’s natural beauty.
Emphasising a commitment to adaptability, the Ash Dieback Management Plan will undergo an annual review. This iterative process ensures that strategies remain effective and aligned with the evolving challenges posed by Ash Dieback.
The forthcoming budget approval represents a critical milestone in the battle against Ash Dieback. The city’s commitment to a proactive stance and robust strategies, coupled with ongoing reviews, underscores its dedication to protecting our environment and ensuring a sustainable future for Worcester.
Worcester City Council’s response to Ash Dieback demonstrates a commitment to proactive and comprehensive management. As the city moves towards securing the necessary budget, let us collectively rally behind these initiatives, safeguarding our city’s natural heritage for generations to come.
See Councillor Jessie Jagger ask questions of the Council on this topic…..