Somerset

Ash trees at National Trust site in Somerset 'surviving dieback'

Chalara ash dieback
Image caption Chalara ash dieback has taken hold in England, Wales and Scotland

Trees at a National Trust site in Somerset have survived ash dieback for longer than previously believed.

Only 10% of the 6,000 ash trees at Holnicote, near Minehead, are showing any signs of the disease.

This is despite having been infected for five years longer than any other tree in the UK, the trust believes.

Ash dieback is present in some trees nearby but appears not to have spread - which the trust said is at odds with government predictions.

They suggest the disease should have spread further and infected more trees in this time.

Dr Simon Pryor, from the trust, said even trees affected had not suffered as much as it had expected, and few died, despite apparently having had the disease for nearly a decade.

He added the trust would be speaking to the government and calling for it to review its control strategy in the light of its findings.

"Whilst we don't want to be too optimistic on the basis of this one outbreak, this does confirm the view we've held from the outset that it is worthwhile removing infected trees in order to try to slow the spread - especially in places like this so far from the main area of the disease in the South East."

The trees at Holnicote Estate, which were planted in 2001, were discovered to be infected in September.

The trust believes it is likely that these trees - like thousands of others imported to the UK at the time - were infected while being grown in central Europe.

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