For fear of losing their ash trees, the UK Forestry Commission has announced that it is closing some of its forests to the public after discovering infected trees. The fungus, Chalara fraxinea, which has severely affected other European countries and has now spread to Britain, kills 90 per cent of trees it infects.
On Monday the Government banned ash imports to Britain, but experts warned that it may be “too little, too late”.
They believe Britain faces a catastrophe on the scale of the Dutch Elm disease outbreak, which killed 25 million trees in the Seventies and Eighties. More than 100,000 trees have already been destroyed in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease. Officials are considering placing restrictions on movement and enhanced biosecurity.