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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 10:44 GMT
Felled elms repair beach defences
Elm tree
A 200-year-old diseased tree was felled in Preston Park in 2005
Diseased trees felled to protect one of the last strongholds of elms in Britain are to be used as sea defences on a Sussex beach.

A dozen trees, from a variety of locations in Brighton and Hove, have been felled to protect the rest of the city's collection of 15,000 elms.

The wood is no longer infectious once the bark has been removed, and the wood is to be used to replace old groynes.

The 6ft-long timbers are to be bolted on to groynes near the Peace Statue.

"This is a great way of making sure the wood doesn't go to waste," said Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council environment committee.

"Once in place it should last for decades."

Urban area

About 25,000 elms were planted in the city by the Victorians and Edwardians.

A campaign was mounted to protect them when more than 30 million trees across the country were lost to Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s.

Brighton and Hove, then two separate towns, were able to tackle the disease because it was contained in a small urban area - compared with large, rural counties such as Kent.

Today, Brighton and Eastbourne claim to have the oldest and largest population of elms remaining in the country.

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