Around half of the district’s ash trees are believed to be infected with ash dieback disease. Wakefield Council has now approved plans to cut down those with the airborne disease because of the safety risk dying trees pose to the public from falling branches. A tree will be replanted for every one cut down and the overall scheme will cost just over £500,000.
Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where the plans were signed off, Councillor Michael Graham said: “I’ve read that this is going to cost the country about £15billion, which is a huge amount of money.
“But I think this is the right time to take this action and invest this money into tackling the problem.
“From what I’ve seen, there’s no solution to the disease. The tree’s either resistant or it isn’t.
“It’s a great shame we’re going to lose them. It’s devastating news but I think we’ve got a really good strategy here which can tackle it.”
Cabinet member for climate change, Coun Jack Hemingway said: “It is a terrible shame that we’re probably not going to have ash trees in English forests for much longer.
“”But we can ensure that with the tree planting programme we are making a difference and we can still have vibrant forests in our communities.””