RESIDENTS have raised concerns about the 'severe measures' taken by the National Trust to deal with ash dieback in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

While acknowledging that ash dieback is an issue in the area, Sue Ratcliffe from Nailsworth said that the National Trust is cutting down healthy ash trees as well as diseased trees in its efforts to control the spread of the disease.

"They’re cutting down perfectly healthy trees and making areas of the county such as Frocester Hill complete and utter eye sores through bad forestry management," she said.

“I think a lot of people in the area would be quite horrified to see what they’ve done on Frocester Hill and on the commons at Minchinhampton, Besbury and Rodborough."

"They could be pollarded, but they’re completely felling them."

As well as causing detriment to the landscape, Ms Ratcliffe said the loss of habitat for wildlife is a concern.

John Parker of the Arboricultural Association, said: "The position of the Arboricultural Association is that ash dieback is indeed a significant threat to trees in Gloucestershire and the rest of the UK, but that – as with any kind of tree risk management – the response needs to be reasonable and proportionate.

READ MORE: National Trust warns over loss of trees and woodlands as ash dieback surges

"Those ash trees which prove resistant or tolerant to the disease will be those which will hold the key to our future ash population, and it is therefore important that healthy trees are not removed pre-emptively.

"Many trees which are affected by ash dieback will of course need to be removed entirely, but standing dead trees have immense biodiversity value and the retention of entire or pollarded dead and dying trees should be considered where it is safe and appropriate to do so."

A spokeswoman for the National Trust said: "Over the past few months, we've been assessing and monitoring the health of ash trees on our land for ash dieback.

"As a result of these surveys, we have identified some trees on Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons that pose a risk to public safety and unfortunately need felling.

"The work will be carried out by specialist contractors and will require heavy machinery to be used."

This story first appeared in the Stroud News and Journal.

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