Barley businessman fears for his 16,000 ash trees as disease spreads

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A PENDLE businessman fears the worst for his forest of trees as a deadly disease spreads across the UK.

Frank Wren, of Boothman Park Estate Ltd in Barley, has around 16,000 ash trees on his land and fears they could all be wiped out.

Evidence of the ash dieback disease was witnessed in Buckinghamshire in March but the first confirmed case was late last month in East Anglia.

The disease originated in Eastern Europe in 1992 but has destroyed many Ash trees across continental Europe. It has subsequently been recorded at 115 sites across the country from North Wales to South West Scotland.

The government held an emergency summit this week on ways to limit the effect of the air born fungus but Mr Wren, who has no signs of the disease in his trees at the moment, fears it is too late.

He said: “I’ve got a mixture of saplings and mature trees all grown on site. These trees are Barley grown and the have their own nucleus in this area. They are part of the ecosystem.

“It’s a very serious situation. It could devastate all the trees. I think if it comes to it, the government will make me take them all out.

“What I want to know is why we are importing these trees. It’s a sad fact that we import rather than grow and manage from the seed.”