New legislation will minimise ash wood disease in Ireland

New regulations have been introduced by the Minister of State, Shane McEntee TD with responsibility for Forestry, following the discovery of ash die-back disease and kiln dried disease in ash trees planted in counties Leitrim, Monaghan, Meath and Galway in recent months.

New regulations have been introduced by the Minister of State, Shane McEntee TD with responsibility for Forestry, following the discovery of ash die-back disease and kiln dried disease in ash trees planted in counties Leitrim, Monaghan, Meath and Galway in recent months.

The new regulations will allow ash wood into Ireland “only if it is from areas known to be free of ash die-back disease, kiln dried or with the outer round surface – including bark – removed”. Minister McEntee said that the implementation of the legislation in respect of the new regulations was “necessary and important” and pointed to the fact that similar measures were about to be introduced in Northern Ireland.

“Under the new regulations, ash wood will be allowed into the country, but only if it is from areas known to be free of the Chalara Ash Die Back disease or kiln dried or with the outer round surface – including bark – removed,” the Minister said, adding that the new regulations would help to “minimise” the disease risk in the importation of ash wood in certain forms or from disease free areas.  “Many manufacturers are already importing hurley planks that meet these requirements and they can continue to do so. 

Others who, for example, import ash butts from areas where the disease is present will need to change their supply arrangements to comply with the new legislation and Coillte has agreed to bring forward the harvesting of ash to help alleviate any interim supply issues that might arise.”

The new measures which come into immediate effect, will provide for a strong legal grounding in respect of wood imports into Ireland. “It means that north and south of the border, rules are in place to prevent the risk of the disease being imported into the island,” Minister McEntee added.

“While I understand plants are the highest risk in terms of a pathway for the disease, wood is also a risk and I was particularly concerned with high risk unprocessed wood such as firewood entering the country from infected areas.”

Leader Farming understands that all ash trees planted in 2009 and known to be infected with the diseases in the affected areas, have been burned under the supervision of Forest Service staff.