Cookham road closures planned due to National Trust tree works

Tree safety works due to ash dieback will lead to the closure of several roads in Cookham this autumn and winter.

Ash dieback is a highly infectious disease which causes trees to become dangerous because of the potential for falling limbs or trunks.

It was first detected in the UK in 2012 in Kent and East Anglia, but is now present across the whole of the country.

Hockett and Bigfirth Lanes in Cookham are set to be closed during half term from October 25 until October 29, from 9.30am-4pm, while the National Trust carries out tree safety works on those affected.

Elsewhere, Gibraltar Lane will close for four four-day periods between 9:30am-4pm during October, November and January:

In the Maidenhead and Cookham area, there has been a rapid increase in trees in severe decline over the past two years, the National Trust says.

Ash is the UK's third most common tree, with an estimation that 70-95 per cent of ash trees will be affected.

Ash dieback is caused by a fungus which spreads rapidly as its spores are windborne. The tree dies from the top down and can take as little as a year, or as much as 30 years, to die.

Other factors such as drought and honey fungus affect the rate of decline.

National Trust lead ranger Tim Crauford said: “We recognise that felling trees in well-loved landscapes is difficult for people to see. We all appreciate the benefits of trees, and our team also finds it a difficult task to instruct.

"However, we will only remove those the trees that have been identified as posing a risk to the safety of the public, or to the safety of our staff and contractors.

"Further into their decline the trees can become extremely hazardous to work on. We’ll complete these works as quickly as possible and we appreciate your support and understanding.”

Neil Wilson, of Beechwood Tree Care, which is contracted to carry out the work, added: "We understand this is very inconvenient for residents, road users and walkers, but tree felling is a hazardous, complex operation and it’s essential to have a secure worksite.

"Our vehicles and machinery will take up the entire road, so we’ll not be able to accommodate any vehicle movements in or out of the closed roads during the works. Access for emergency vehicles will not be affected.”

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