Ash Dieback in Epsom & Ewell

Implications of ash dieback

We recognise that ash dieback is a significant issue for tree stocks and public safety in Epsom & Ewell. Up to 90% of our ash tree population could be lost. The disease needs to be carefully managed through strategies and a coordinated approach to ensure ash trees are maintained safely and that harm to biodiversity and landscape character is mitigated. There are estimated to be at least 20,000 ash trees in the borough and over 6000 of these are on land that we maintain.

Currently, ash dieback is present throughout Epsom and Ewell and is particularly evident on young trees and in plantations. It was first observed on Epsom Downs (2014) and in ash saplings in Horton Country Park in (2015). At these sites, and others in the borough, monitoring has identified the disease progress.  It is now noticeable that many trees have progressive twig dieback and thinning crowns.  Significant numbers of pole stage trees are dead/dying and larger trees are exhibiting dead branches or denuded crowns. The rate of ash dieback is now in a state of surge as the adverse symptoms have been accelerating over the last few years.

Based on observational evidence from other landowners the anticipated progression of tree mortality/advanced dieback is likely to follow the timeline set out in Figure 1: Line graph showing the estimated progression of Ash Dieback on trees in the borough.

For more information on the estimated progression of ash dieback in our borough, take a look at page 10 of the Epsom & Ewell Borough Council  Ash Dieback Action Plan.

How we plan to manage ash dieback in our borough

It is a considerable financial challenge to deliver a robust plan to manage the effects of ash dieback, but we cannot be complacent. We have adopted a risk-based approach to managing potentially unsafe ash trees. Inspections and tree works are organised through our tree management contract/s in line with the risk management set out in our tree management plan.  Our main focus is dealing with the threat of harm to people and property whilst minimising environmental impact.  Where trees are lost to ash dieback, replanting in these locations, where appropriate, will be prioritised as part of the tree planting plans.

We have set up an Ash Dieback Management Group specifically with the aim of coordinating our actions to tackle the disease on trees on land that we maintain.

Our Ash Dieback Action Plan can be read here. 

Current ash dieback control programme 

Actioned sites Sites where action is currently in progress  

Epsom Common -Christ Church Road (phase 1)

Epsom Common - Wilmerhatch Lane (phase 1)

Horton Lane- Manor Park (phase 1)

Epsom Downs- Langley Vale Road (phase 1)

Epsom Downs - Race course side (phase 1)

Horton Country Park – Lamberts Wood (phase 1)

Horton Country Park -Hollymoor Grove (phase1)

Horton Country Park - Butchers Grove (Phase 1)

Horton Country Park - Hendon Grove (Phase 1)

Uppermill (Phase 1)

Court Lane

Horton Country Park – Lamberts Wood (phase 2)

Horton Country Park -Hollymoor Grove (phase2)

Horton Country Park- Butchers Grove (phase 2)

Horton Country Park – Hendon Grove (phase 2)

Epsom Downs Footpaths – (phase 1)

Epsom Downs - Woodcote side (phase 1

Phase 1: There will be a need for an initial felling programme as a first sweep.

Phase 2: A return visit will be required at the defined intervals to find further declining trees which are in a later stage of disease submission. This will give the best chance of saving trees with natural resistance to the disease.

NB: In some high risk and hotspot areas strip clear cutting to fell all ash trees within falling distance of schools/busy roads is likely to be a more cost efficient and safer option.

Further information 

Read our Tree Management Plan, which was adopted in early 2023.

For more information on managing ash dieback on your ash trees, take a look here:  The Tree Council

For more information on ash dieback, take a look here: Forest Research



PDF icon Ash Dieback Action Plan and Map765.05 KB