AROUND 50 elm trees are to be removed from Coldean Woods after a large outbreak of elm disease.

The affected trees are at the site of a housing development in Coldean Lane, with the infection spotted during a visit to the site by Brighton and Hove City Council’s arboricultural team.

Work to remove the trees will begin on August 4 and is expected to take between three and five days to complete.

Councillor Amy Heley, chairwoman of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “This is devastating news and we are very sorry about the further loss of trees in a woodland so recently affected by ash dieback.

“It’s very important to remove these infected elms as quickly as possible to protect the other elms in the area as much as possible.

“It’s some consolation that 200 new trees, including 40 elms, will be planted as part of the development of new low cost housing on the site.”

Elm disease can spread rapidly, so the removal of infected trees must be done as quickly as possible to prevent further outbreaks.

However, there was a slight delay in removing these trees due to the presence of badger setts within the woodland. Ecologists have been closely monitoring badger activity in the area as part of wildlife protection measures for the housing development. There have been no signs of recent use and steps will be taken to ensure badgers do not start re-using the setts during the development.

Traffic lights will be in place on the road from August 4 while the work takes place.

Cllr Heley encouraged the public to report any elms they see infected with disease to the council’s arboricultural team, who also inspect firewood and timber free of charge to remove potentially infected logs.

“We’ve lost a number of important elms to elm disease over recent years and to lose this many in one go is terrible.”

Have you got a story for us? Email or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.