Ash dieback disease

Ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea) is a fungal disease affecting ash trees. It causes leaf loss and canopy decline and in some cases causes the trees to die. It is widespread across the UK including in East Lothian.

Anyone with an ash tree on their land has a responsibility to ensure that risk posed by the tree is kept within appropriate limits.

It is important to consult a specialist tree professional for advice before any pruning or felling works are undertaken due to the potential risks involved.

The Tree Council has a leaflet with advice for tree owners - it is available to view or download on our website.

Ash dieback in Scotland

Symptoms of ash dieback disease became increasingly visible across Scotland in 2020, including on large, mature ash trees. The impact of this disease has escalated rapidly in the south of England in particular, and it is likely that Scotland will soon be on a similar trajectory. Current evidence suggests that at least 50%–75% of Scotland’s approximately 11 million mature ash trees may die over the next two decades.

Ash dieback has spread across the UK and has now been confirmed in East Lothian. A Plant Health Order introduced in 2012 in the UK prohibits all imports of ash seeds, plants and trees, as well as all internal movement of ash seeds, plants and trees.

More information is available on the Forest Research website

Ash dieback on East Lothian Council managed land

Ash dieback is widespread in East Lothian and has been found on some of our sites during 2021. We are proposing to start work on priority sites this winter to remove infected trees which could be a health and safety hazard. Further works will take place in the coming years as required.

Advice for landowners, homeowners, woodland managers and countryside workers

The Tree Council, supported by Scottish Forestry, has worked closely with a number of organisations at the forefront of dealing with ash dieback infection in Scotland to develop a new ash dieback action plan toolkit for Scotland.

Scottish Forestry has produced the following information which is relevant when dealing with ash dieback: 

Trees can be protected by Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Areas or Planning Conditions.

To find out if a tree is protected and what you should do before carrying out any work to it refer to:

Further information

How to identify an ash tree

How to spot ash dieback 

Report ash dieback on the Forest Research website

Read more about trees, TPOs and Consent for Tree Works on our website