To date approximately 693ha of ash forestry plantations have been cleared and replanted with alternative species, according to figures released by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.

He said a high proportion of the area cleared are plantations which were associated with infected imported batches but which were not necessarily infected.

“These associated plantations were destroyed on a precautionary basis,” he said.

According to the Minister this work involved the uprooting and deep burial of circa 2 million ash trees since late 2012.

In addition he said the findings in forestry plantations were all privately owned apart from one Coillte site.

Infected ash has also been destroyed by deep burial or burning in privately owned non-forestry locations such as horticultural nurseries, gardens and farm and agri-environment plantings.

Minister Coveney also said that there have also been findings in roadsides which have been subject to eradication measures.

In relation to ash planted under the Rural Environment Protection Scheme the Minister said, no data is available specifically for ash trees.

“We do know however, that 23 cases of Chalara have been found on Farm planting/Agri-environment site.”

With regard to hedgerows, the Minister said he can confirm that 4 cases of infection in hedgerows have been identified all of which are associated with sites planted with infected imported material.

Supports for those affected by ash dieback

The Reconstitution Scheme (Chalara) supports the reconstitution of ash plantations which have suffered from or are associated with ash dieback disease caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. The objective of this scheme is to:

– Eradicate the disease in forests affected by Hymenoscyphus fraxineus by supporting the removal and destruction of trees and leaf litter affected by the disease;

– Reconstitute the forest with an alternative species to ash.

Grant assistance will be in respect of costs necessarily incurred in clearing the site and reconstituting the forest, subject to the maximum limit laid down as follows:

 – Crop Type Rates per treated hectare
Site Clearance Grant(Removal and Destruction) Crop infected by ash -dieback Cost to a maximum of €1,500 /ha
1st Instalment(Replanting) Conifers Broadleaf Cost to max of €2,500 /haCost to max of €3,800/ha
2nd Instalment(Maintenance) Conifers Broadleaf 2nd inst cost to max of €800/ha2nd inst cost to max of €1,200/ha

All grant aided private forest owners are eligible to apply for the scheme. There are no payments for farmers/growers who are restricted on sale or movement but do not have to destroy the stock.