HUNDREDS of trees across Brighton and Hove will be cut down as a "devastating" disease gives the city council "no alternative".

A disease that could wipe out thousands of trees throughout the city is forcing Brighton and Hove City Council to remove them before they "collapse or fall down".

Trees riddled with the fungal infection ash dieback (ADB) will be chopped, as they could cause serious damage to people and property if left alone, the council warned.

Around 20 per cent of all woodland trees owned by the council are ash, and so, they will be cut down to protect wildlife and people in a situation "never" been faced before.

Councillor Amy Heley, chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said there is "no alternative".

She said: “We know it will mean a great deal of distress and upset for our residents, but our tree experts, along with other specialists, will try to ensure the effects are kept to an absolute minimum, especially when it comes to the natural habitats of our wildlife.”

READ MORE: Don’t panic: focus on finding the truly hazardous trees

"Sadly we have no alternative but to remove a very large number of our ash trees, starting with the ones within striking distance of roads, footpaths and property to ensure public safety.

"Some ash trees are tolerant or resistant to ADB and will be retained where possible to help re-stock our woodlands with native ash trees.

"Tree tops will be left on site mostly as a means to feed nutrients back into the cycle within woodland settings and to avoid suppressing ground flora with layers of wood chip.

"It is also extremely costly to remove felled trees from woodland.

"Although this will often result in untidy looking sites, there are benefits in the longer term."

The city council is also seeing a rise in elm disease amongst trees, but they say this can be contained, unlike the "devastating" ash dieback.

This story originally appeared in The Argus.

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