Road closure planned as work continues to tackle the effects of ash dieback

05th April 2023


An ongoing programme to manage the declining health of trees suffering from ash dieback disease is continuing across Three Rivers District Council owned woodlands and open spaces this month.

In the next stage of the project, ash trees will be felled and pruned along Batchworth Lane, in Moor Park. The works are targeting trees along the roadside – and the road itself will be closed on Sunday 16 April between 8am and 7pm.  

Work has already been completed in the Rickmansworth Aquadrome to fell and prune trees to deal with the impact of the disease. In low-risk areas, where safe, trees are having their branches removed and are being left as important standing deadwood habitats for insects, fungi and bats.

In many locations felled timber is being stacked on-site as habitat piles or, where possible, some of it may be sold as firewood to reduce the cost of the works.

Over recent months, the council’s tree officers have been encountering increasing numbers of ash trees in poor health resulting from ash dieback, in particular at Rickmansworth Aquadrome, Oxhey Woods, Batchworth Heath, Chorleywood House Estate and Carpenters Wood.

Ash dieback is caused by an airborne fungus, and affects a range of ash species, but notably common ash, the UK’s native species, which is widespread across Three Rivers district. The disease has a high mortality rate (60-70%) rapidly killing saplings and young ash trees. In mature specimens, it can re-infect trees in successive years, leading to a longer-term gradual decline in overall tree health. Weakened trees are likely to become infected by other tree pathogens, and eventually reach an unsafe condition which requires them to be felled.

The council’s Principal Tree and Landscape Officer, Alex Laurie, said: “This project aims to deal with the effects of this disease, which can be deadly for ash trees. We hope by taking action now we can prevent declining trees from becoming dangerous to road users. We apologise for any inconvenience the work might cause.”

The council’s current Tree Strategy identified ash dieback as a key issue for the district, and concluded that it should take a risk-based approach to managing declining ash in line with guidance from the Forestry Commission.

Once the work is completed along Batchworth Lane, officers will be surveying trees in Carpenters Wood, Oxhey Woods and other open spaces in the district.

Read the council’s Tree Strategy here:

Road closure: Batchworth Lane will be temporarily closed to traffic from near to the junction with Rickmansworth/London Road (A404) to Astons Road.  Through traffic will be diverted via the A4125 (Sandy Lane/Watford Road), B469 Green Lane, A4125 (Church Road/High Street) and A404 (Rickmansworth/London Road).