Glasgow’s local council estimates that removing dozens of sick trees from the city will cost about £39.9 million.
The outbreak of the Ash dieback infection, which is damaging trees across the UK, has put more than 30,000 ash trees on Glasgow City Council territory at risk.
Yesterday, councillors on Glasgow City Council’s environment, sustainability and carbon reduction policy committee released for the first time the scope of the problem, and while they were given an evaluation of what action the authority can take, there was concern that hundreds of homeowners could be faced with hefty fees to remove infected trees from their properties.
According to a report to the committee, ash trees account for nearly 11.8% of trees on public land in Glasgow, with 35,000 of them thought to be at high risk of disease.
According to the report, the council is now considering chopping down 31,000 trees to address the situation. The cost of cutting and removing the trees might range from £25 million to £38 million over the next seven years, and it was suggested that the Scottish Government be contacted for financial assistance.
The fungus that causes ash dieback is regarded to be the most serious threat to trees since Dutch elm disease decimated millions of trees in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s.
The cost of felling a tree ranges from £800 to £1200, with the entire cost of the programme anticipated to be around £38 million.
“Clearly, these are significant sums,” said George Gillespie, executive director of neighbourhoods at Glasgow City Council. “The hope, albeit unconfirmed at the moment, is that there will be a level of government help to address this country-wide issue.”
While the council is liable for 125,000 ash trees in parks and on streets, there are roughly the same number on private land, including in people’s gardens. There might be another 30,000 trees that need to be cut down on private land.
According to council officer Stephen Egan, the disease’s threat is emerging as the greatest threat to parks and green spaces in decades.
“Bringing this at this point to make us aware of the challenge and that this is something that will take considerable work in the coming decade,” said committee chairman Councillor Angus Millar, who added: “Bringing this at this point to make us aware of the challenge and that this is something that will take considerable work in the coming decade.”
“While there isn’t a fully fleshed-out action plan at this time, it is encouraging that we as a committee now have visibility into this.”
The study astounded Councillor Allan Gow, who stated that a strong message was needed to go out, particularly in relation to private owners and gardens. He inquired about the possibility of developing a communication plan.
The council stated that advising individual homeowners on what actions they could take was part of the project’s design.