Last modified: 09 November 2012
Image: Matt Patterson
The RSPB has welcomed a Government action plan, released today [Friday 9 November, 2012], on dealing with the spread of ash dieback in UK woodlands.
Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said: “The four-point plan announced by the Environment Secretary today is a vital part of stopping the spread of this disease.
“Upland ash woodland and ash in the UK’s lowland woods and hedges are important habitats for a wide range of plants and animals. We are pleased that protecting this wildlife has been enshrined in the Government’s approach to tackling ash dieback.
“However, it is essential that at a time when budgets are already stretched we do not divert resources away from other vital environmental services provided by Government agencies. Money must be found from central Government coffers to fund this activity or we will simply be robbing peter to pay Paul.
“We all have a role to play in this issue and as major landowners the RSPB will play its part. We currently have staff out on our reserves assessing the possible spread of the disease and other organisations are doing the same.
“It is right that the attention of the Government, its agencies, conservationists and the public are focussed on dealing with this urgent issue, but in the long term we must treat this as a wake-up call. It is essential that we change the way we move animals and plants around the country and across international borders. Regulation must be put in place to ensure this does not happen again – our natural environment is too precious.”