1) “What assessment has the Council made of the potential impact of ash dieback (Chalara) in the authority area and what strategy does it have to cope?
Devon County Council (DCC) undertook its initial assessment of the potential future impact of ash dieback in 2013 through a sample survey to estimate the likely number of ash trees along the County highway network, at school sites and at other County Council owned properties. In 2017 a further sample survey of sections of the County highway network were carried out, and there will be monitoring during the course of this year.
The current strategy to deal with the implications of ash dieback is formulated in liaison with the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum and includes ongoing tree inspections and remedial work and specific sample monitoring surveys.
2) How many mature ash trees are close to roads for which the council is responsible or public areas in the council’s control where those trees have the potential to impact on public safety if they become infected, whether in the council’s ownership or privately owned?
It is currently estimated that there are circa 6,300 that could affect the highway for which the Council are directly responsible and circa 441,000 that could affect the highway which are the responsibility of other landowners.
DCC has identified on the remainder of other non-highways sites that there are circa 7,000 ash trees (including schools, offices & other sites). Where an impact on public safety is identified through the survey work, appropriate remedial action would be taken.
3) How many of those trees are on council-owned land, and how many of those are ‘street trees’ in residential areas.
Please see response to question 2 above. No information is available specifically in relation to residential areas.
4) How many of those trees are on non-council-owned land.
Please see response to question 2 above.
5) What is the estimated cost to the Council of felling and/or otherwise dealing with all trees in question 2 and over what timescale is that cost estimated?
The total costs to DCC to fell infected trees has not yet been confirmed, and it is dependent on both the results of the on-going surveys and the speed of the disease progressing across the County.
6) How much of that cost does the council expect to recover from third parties?
DCC are not able to quantify the costs which it may be able to recover from third parties at this stage.
7) How many trees has the council committed to plant specifically to replace trees lost to Chalara?”
There is, at present, no DCC commitment to plant new trees specifically to replace trees lost to ash dieback.