Work to tackle Ash Dieback to start in North Northants parks

Country parks

27 September 2023

Due to a fungal disease which affects ash trees across the UK, North Northamptonshire Council will need to start work from early October (after the end of the nesting season) to remove potentially hazardous trees from several council owned parks and green spaces.

Ash Dieback is a fungal disease which it is estimated will result in the loss of a large proportion of ash trees across the UK. Across the country, there is ongoing work to ensure that all trees are as safe as possible and the work that is due to start in North Northants has been carefully considered, following national guidance, consultation with experts and with due diligence.

Instead of mass felling, NNC are taking a considered approach, removing individual, infected trees from King’s Wood Local Nature Reserve, Irchester Country Park and East Carlton Countryside Park.

Firstly, any trees that pose a high health and safety risk by footpaths, highways and housing will be removed. By removing these trees, sunlight will be able to reach the woodland floor, encouraging new growth of flowers and other vegetation, which will support butterflies and other invertebrates. Doing this will not only make the woodland safer, but it will also make it more diverse and encourage a wider variety of wildlife into the area. 

Felling and leaving diseased timber in situ is not a threat to other species but will have a high habitat value and such will be cut into 1m to 2m lengths and stacked up to create log piles, creating small habitats for newts, invertebrates and small mammals to hibernate or use as cover.

It is very regrettable that we are in a situation where we have to remove mature trees. This is a national problem, faced by councils and landowners across the country and something we must tackle to protect our wider tree population and for the safety of residents and nearby infrastructure. 
Without carefully managed removal of certain infected trees, there is the very real risk that these will fall of their own accord, causing damage to nearby trees and residential properties or injury to the public. We have an extensive tree planting programme in North Northamptonshire which has seen more than 5,000 standard trees planted over the past three seasons as well as a replanting whip programme, with more than 7,000 whips planted in the same period.
Cllr Harriet Pentland, the council’s Executive Member for Climate and Green Environment
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that all work being completed is following guidance from DEFRA, the Tree Council, Woodland Trust and the Forestry Commission. Our teams have obtained the correct felling licenses and are working in a balanced way, with no mass felling taking place.Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council

Work will start from early October and residents can read more about the work and why it is happening.