Ash dieback

Ash Dieback to cost Britain £15 billion

An invasive disease of ash trees is allegedly bound to have an adverse effect on the British economy. Ash dieback is a chronic fungal tree disease caused to ash trees in Europe. The condition results in leaf loss and crown dieback.  Ash dieback has proved to be lethal to native ash trees in England. The disease was first identified in 2012 and it is believed that ash dieback spread much earlier via infected imported trees. The lethal tree disease is expected to kill about 95-99% of ash trees in Britain.

A large number of ash trees line up on Britain’s roads and urban areas. The Ash trees provide many benefits, like purification of air, water and also carbon sequestration. A recent study has found out that preventive measures for ash trees are to cost the government amply. Since dangerous trees line Britain’s road, the clear up is not only going to affect the society but also the British economy, reports draw an estimate of around £15bn. Furthermore, the costs are bound to escalate due to replanting and research, and in turn have an adverse effect on the profits from the forestry sector. The total bill is estimated at £14.8bn over 100 years, Experts predict that half of it, £7.6bn will fall within a decade.

Experts from Oxford University suggest that the disease is also allegedly caused by human activities, such as trade in live plants and climate change. The expert team was also fairly surprised at the total cost for the clear up which exceeded their expectations. They calculated a multibillion-pound bill for the disease, with the costs expected to be more than £7bn in the next 10 years. The local authorities will be affected the most. Among them the Devon county council has spent more than £30m a year on roadside ash trees, the amount is vastly more than the average council’s tree budget.

Dr. Nick Atkinson, a senior conservation advisor for the Woodland Trust made recommendations in his statement. Allegedly a nationwide replanting scheme could reduce the overall cost by £2.5 billion. This will also ensure the restoration of the lost ecosystem services. Atkinson also suggested prudent investment in biosecurity to keep new diseases at bay.