THE FIGHT against a disease which is predicted to kill up to 80 per cent of the UK’s ash trees is being spearheaded by a specialist tree safety firm based near Rugby.
PB Forestry and Landscaping has invested £1 million in state-of-the-art machinery to counter the rising threat of ash dieback.
The Flecknoe-based company has bought a Sennebogen 718e – and is believed to be the only company in the region to operate it.
The bespoke German-made kit allows the firm to cut and remove trees more efficiently, safely and quickly.
Ash dieback, also known as Chalara, was first identified in England in 2012 and is now affecting swathes of woodlands.
The company has further expanded its equipment line with Bandit 20XP and Kesla C645T2 chippers, allowing cases of ash dieback to be efficiently processed and extracted.
Managing Director Philip Bett said: “The threat has perhaps not fully-dawned on local authorities and landowners yet, and particularly around identifying, assessing and managing ash dieback.
“Diseased trees possess a high risk of collapse – not only posing a risk to public safety, but also to tree surgeons using the traditional rope methods, cherry-pickers and chainsaws.
“The Forest Industry Safety Accord has said it is essential that every effort is made to fell diseased ash trees mechanically and to keep any chainsaw operations to an absolute minimum. The Sennebogen 718e has been identified as the safest solution to do this.”
The Sennebogen 718e, capable of cutting to a height of 13 metres, was recently put through its paces when PB Forestry and Landscaping had to clear the woodland frontage of diseased ash trees at Rough Hill Woods near Studley on behalf of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.
Philip added: “This was potentially a challenging roadside job using traditional methods, but the Sennebogen enabled us to carry out the works safely over a five-day period, deploying traffic management systems to operate with a single lane closure to minimise disruption.”