Work is due to start in the next few months to fell 12 diseased or dying trees in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, following safety concerns.
A recent inspection of trees in the park found that some were showing signs of disease or deterioration. Calderdale Council reported its concerns to the Forestry Commission, who confirmed that Ramorum disease is present in some of the trees and will ultimately kill them. This disease affects many trees and other plants across the country including beech, larch and rhododendron.
The Forestry Commission has instructed the Council to fell the affected trees and has provided financial support to remove the rhododendron in the park and woodland because it spreads the disease. This is part of the organisation’s work with councils and landowners to control the spread of disease and protect our woodlands for generations to come.
There is no immediate risk to people, but if the trees are not cut down they will continue to deteriorate, which raises safety concerns from the risk of branches falling.
The Council is keeping the number of trees felled to an absolute minimum and will be replanting different species in the park over the next two to three years.
Whilst the trees are being felled, the relevant areas will be fenced off for safety and so the material can be carefully handled to prevent further spread of the disease. The work is being undertaken outside bird nesting seasons, and other wildlife will be taken into consideration such as bats and squirrels.
Cllr Steve Sweeney, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said:
“It’s unfortunate that we have to cut down the trees and rhododendron – this is always a last resort. But people’s safety and protecting other trees from disease are our main priorities. We are planting new species to replace them, to make sure there are still plenty of plants for people to enjoy for years to come.
“Fortunately the serious disease hasn’t been found in our other parks and open spaces, but we will continue to keep a close eye on our trees and plants as part of our routine safety checks.”
Alan Ockenden, Tree Health Officer, Forestry Commission England said:
“We are working across the country to limit the impact from Ramorum disease. We are supporting landowners with advice and grants where we can to tackle this disease on the ground and grow resilient woodlands and forests for the future.”