Thousands of trees to be cut down across Eastbourne

Trees on the South Downs at Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-191121-120835001
Trees on the South Downs at Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-191121-120835001

Thousands of trees on the Downs from Butts Brow to Meads will be chopped down.

A deadly airbourne fungus – called ash dieback – has left thousands of trees in Eastbourne dead or dying over the last 12 months and experts say the woodland canopy from Willingdon to Meads has turned a deathly grey colour, clearly showing the extent of the fatal disease.

The Forestry Commission has identified the large areas of woodland that must be removed and is due to begin felling early next month in a long term-plan developed with Eastbourne council.

The whole project is expected to take up to five years.

The entire project, says the council will be cost-neutral as the authority will receive money from the timber which will pay the cost of the major felling operation.

Experts say a diseased tree becomes dangerous, with branches or the tree itself at risk of falling onto footpaths, roads and property. Currently there is no preventative treatment available.

Trees leading up to the downs viewed from Eastbourne Royal Golf Course (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-191118-135510008

Trees leading up to the downs viewed from Eastbourne Royal Golf Course (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-191118-135510008

While a limited amount of the cut timber will be left in place to provide habitat for insects, birds and other flora and fauna, most of the dead trees will be taken to a biomass facility.

The council is holding a public exhibition at the Town Hall on Friday November 29 between 9.30am and 4pm where council officers will be on hand to answer questions.

Following this, the exhibition will be on view in St Mary the Virgin, Church Street, Willingdon, from 9am-5pm daily (except Saturdays 9am-4pm) from December 2 to 16.

Additionally, information is available at www.actionashdieback.co.uk where people can view aerial video footage of the woodland taken by the Forestry Commission and images which clearly show affected areas.

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See page 19 for more on the story and photographs of the areas identified by the Forestry Commission which will have to be felled from December onwards.

Dead tress on Eastbourne downland SUS-191121-121034001

Dead tress on Eastbourne downland SUS-191121-121034001

Eastbourne SUS-191121-121204001

Eastbourne SUS-191121-121204001

Eastbourne SUS-191121-121222001

Eastbourne SUS-191121-121222001