Work to remove diseased Ash trees affected by Ash Dieback disease is being carried out along the road edge of Orley Common in Ipplepen throughout February, and motorists using the area are being warned of potential disruption to their journeys.

Temporary road closures and traffic management systems will be in operation from 1 February, to allow the essential safety work to take place.  Roads affected will be Orley Road, Torbryan Road and Torbryan Hill.  Although this will result in some disruption for motorists, traffic management plans are in place to keep these to a minimum, using diversions and staging the work.

The felling work will remove around 90 whole trees (many of which have several main stems) that are unstable and could present a hazard if they fall into the road.  Unfortunately this necessary work will have a significant impact on the appearance of the Common.

The remaining trees will be retained for the habitat and allowed to follow the natural process, and it is hoped some may survive.  The site will be allowed to regenerate naturally, allowing self-sown trees to grow.

Teignbridge tree consultant Dominic Scanlon said:  “These trees are being removed because they’re infected by Ash Dieback disease and could cause significant problems if they fall onto the adjacent roads.  There is no cure for this disease, which leaves trees very brittle so that they will shed branches or completely fall over.

“Ash dieback has infected trees all over the country and was especially bad in Devon last year and these trees declined rapidly over last summer.

“Orley Common is a primarily ash woodland so many of the trees will be retained, and it’s hoped that some may survive the disease and the site will be allowed to naturally regenerate rather than planted, which is more successful approach on woodland sites and is approved by the Forestry Commission.

“We apologise for any disruption this essential work will cause to people’s journeys, which we will try to keep to a minimum.”

The work will take one month and lead to temporary road closures and traffic management disrupting use.  However, the traffic management will ensure some of the roads remain open with short diversions to keep traffic moving.  All work will take place during the daytime.