A SPECIAL team of council-employed staff is tackling the spread of ash dieback disease in Blackburn with Darwen.

A tree contractor is cutting back and felling trees hit by the fungus.

Ash dieback is a serious disease of ash trees caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus which used to be called Chalara fraxinea.

Chalara ash dieback is present in most parts of the United Kingdom.

Its effects are most visible in regions where the fungus has been present for the longest time, and where local conditions are most suitable for the fungus.

The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees and can lead to the death of the tree.

In report to council colleagues Blackburn with Darwen borough's environment boss says: "The additional funding provided by the council from April 2022, provides a separate team tackling the ash dieback disease which is killing ash trees across the country.

"To combat this, the council now has a tree contractor tackling the problem on its land by cutting back or felling diseased trees.

"A new Arboricultural Officer commenced in post from early July,

"The officer will be responsible for identifying trees with the ash dieback disease, as well as producing a Tree Strategy for the borough to assist with tree planting targets.

"The additional funding has also provided a new team to tackle overgrown shrubs, with the team progressively moving around the borough.

"Further resources have also been provided for litter picking on the main arterial routes within the borough, additional mechanical sweeping on main roads, additional litter bin emptying and also designated staff within the larger parkland sites."