*update 8th October - the car park is now fully open
Parts of Earnslaw Quarry car park remain closed this week as work continues to remove diseased ash trees.
For public safety parts of the upper and lower sections of the car park will be closed to allow for the removal of trees infected by ash dieback disease. A small number of nearby paths will also be closed near to the work area. Please follow any signage and instructions given by Trust staff for your safety.
In addition to this work, contractors will also begin this week to remove infected ash trees near to roads and properties around the Malvern Hills including at Hollybush, Wynd's Point and Wells Road.
Ash dieback, which was first identified in the UK in 2012, has spread across the country and causes the wilting of leaves, shoots to die back and often the death of the tree. Infected trees can become brittle and likely to fail, so the removal of trees near to highways, properties and car parks is essential.
Further tree safety works to remove infected ash are due to begin this autumn after routine tree surveys to monitor the spread of the disease and condition of ash across the Trust's estate.
Jonathan Bills, Conservation Manager said “For the second autumn in a row, we will be dealing with the most badly infected ash trees for public safety and there will be some trees next to highways and properties that will be felled. We are devastated to be losing any ash trees from the MHT estate”
Authorities state that eradicating the disease is not possible as it is caused by a fungus that is airborne and therefore cannot be controlled. It is believed that a small percentage of ash trees may be tolerant to the disease and ash trees showing little or no signs of disease will be left and monitored.
Jonathan added “The impacts of ash dieback over the next 5 to 10 years are going to be significant in the Malvern Hills and Commons landscape. Evidence suggests that between 60-80% of the UK’s ash will be lost to the disease. It is estimated that 20% of trees under the Trust’s care are ash.
The loss of this species will have a significant effect on both the local landscape character and the ecology of the area. MHT will be planting replacement trees where possible and allowing nature to replace trees through natural regeneration.
“As a charity with 1,200 hectares of land under our care, we are facing huge financial pressures as the disease takes hold and more practical management is needed in response. Many of the ash trees are on steep slopes near to roadsides requiring specialist and experienced contractors to safely remove them. This is expensive work at approximately £400 per tree”.
The Trust is asking local people to report ash trees on the Trust’s land which are badly affected and are near to highways or properties. The Trust is also asking for donations to help support the response to tree disease. Find out more about making a donation.