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Stakeholders Invited to Comment on All-Ireland Control Strategy for Ash Dieback

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), along with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) have jointly produced the Draft All-Ireland Chalara Control Strategy. It outlines a 'Fortress Ireland' approach for the identification, control and eradication of the pest which causes Chalara ash dieback, and sets out the actions that will be taken.

Announcing details of the publication, Forestry Minister Michelle O'Neill said: "This is a serious disease, which could have significant consequences for our landscape unless it can be prevented from becoming established in Ireland. The new control strategy shows our determination to minimise the impact of ash dieback on the island and it is important that we engage widely to tackle the problem.

"We are co-operating closely with authorities in the south of Ireland on a 'fortress Ireland' type approach and I would encourage a wide range of stakeholders to make comment on the new plans."

The first findings in the north of ash dieback were confirmed on 16 November 2012. As a result of general surveillance and trace forward exercises to date, 40 premises have been confirmed positive for the fungus Chalara fraxinea. 37 of these are recently planted sites in counties Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, and Tyrone, with an additional three findings in nursery retail and trade situations.

The Department is continuing to conduct specific surveys of ash locally for any symptoms of the disease. The survey covers all of the north taking in public and private woodland, roadside and farm plantings, established trees and hedgerows. Any suspect trees found will be sampled and undergo laboratory testing for the ash dieback pathogen.

Source: Northern Ireland Executive - Stakeholders Invited to Comment on All-Ireland Control Strategy for Ash Dieback