West Berkshire Council to cut down 600 trees affected by ash dieback along A339 in Newbury
Around 600 diseased trees will be cut down along the A339 over the next two weeks.
The A339 between The Swan roundabout and the Ecchinswell Road roundabout will be closed between 8pm and 6am from Monday, October 18, to Friday, October 29 – weekends excluded – to allow for the work.
The 600 trees, of around 6,000 along that stretch of road, have been affected by ash dieback – a fungus originating in Asia which causes the slow death of ash trees.
West Berkshire Council said approximately 95 per cent of the trees were ash, however there were other species such as birch, alder, oak and willow which are to be “removed at the same time as they are in a poor condition”.
Council leader Lynne Doherty (Con, Speen) said: “It’s not a decision we’re taking lightly and it’s to do the right thing.”
Residential access will be maintained throughout and a diversion will be signed on site.
Ash dieback has been in Europe since the 1990s, devastating the ash population as it has no natural defence against the fungus.
It was first recorded in the UK in 2012 and has had the biggest impact in the South East of England, where it was first found.
Symptoms include the leaves developing dark patches in the summer, which then wilt and discolour to black.
Lesions develop where branches meet the trunk, and inner bark looks brownish-grey under the lesions.
The fungus grows inside the tree, eventually blocking its water transport systems, causing it to die.