Ash dieback affects 700 hectares of forestry

About 693 hectares of ash forestry plantations have been cleared and replanted with alternative species after the outbreaks of ash dieback disease over the past two years.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney gave the figure in response to a series of Dáil questions from the Cork East Sinn Féin TD Sandra McLellan.

He said a high proportion of the area cleared are plantations which were associated with infected imported batches but which were not necessarily infected.

“These associated plantations were destroyed on a precautionary basis. This work involved the uprooting and deep burial of about two million ash trees since late 2012,” he said.

Mr Coveney said the findings were all in privately-owned forestry plantations, apart from one Coillte site. Infected ash has also been destroyed by deep burial or burning in privately-owned non-forestry locations such as horticultural nurseries, gardens and farm and agri-environment plantings.

There have also been roadside findings which have been subject to eradication measures. No data is available specifically for ash trees planted under the Rural Environment Protection Scheme.

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