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O’Neill announces further legislation on Ash Dieback

Forestry Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced the introduction of further emergency legislation putting in place safeguards on the imports of ash wood and bark.
Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The measure, in tandem with similar legislation in the Dáil in Dublin, was taken to help prevent the introduction of Chalara ash dieback, a disease of ash trees which is caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea.

Minister O’Neill said: “After consulting stakeholders we found that there are regular imports of ash logs for manufacturing purposes, mainly hurley sticks, and for fire wood. As a potential pathway for the disease, it is an unacceptable risk. This  new legislation means that from today, ash can only be imported under certain technical conditions as set out in the order.”

The Minister added: “I believe this is a proportionate response to the risk of introducing disease in wood, but which will allow manufacturers to continue producing hurley sticks.”

From today logs of ash with bark attached can only be imported if they are accompanied by an official statement that the wood originates in an area known to be free from Chalara fraxinea. However, the risk reduces substantially if the wood receives some simple treatment for which the Order provides.

Further information on the disease and reporting findings is available on nidirect.

Notes to editors:

  1. Chalara fraxinea is a serious disease which has caused the death of many ash trees in European countries. Legislation was introduced north and south on Friday 26 October banning the import and movement of ash plants for planting from infected areas.
  2. Importers are now  required to demonstrate that wood is free from infection by showing that it comes from an area known to be free from disease, or has been square sawn to removing the rounded surface, or has been dried to less than 20 per cent moisture content.
  3. For media enquiries please contact DARD Press Office 028 9052 4619 or email: Out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.