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Briercliffe: 'Ash tree growers should be compensated'

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A nursery owner from Lincolnshire, who had to destroy 50,000 Ash trees, is to sue the government over the Ash dieback disease.

Simon Ellis, a nursery owner, said the government chose not to take seriously a warning from the Horticultural Trades Association in 2009, and that an import ban imposed last week was too late.

The Department for the Environment says an import ban was delayed because of confusion about the strain involved.

The disease has been found in 52 areas across Britain. Martin Ward, Chief Plant Health Officer at the Department for the Environment, said there were precautions that people could take, to help slow the spread.

"It's not a matter of scrubbing off all of the soil and all of the traces of soil from boots. It's just a matter of cleaning off the dead leaves… [this] is the way to stop the disease moving in that way, from one site to another."

Tim Briercliffe from the Horticultural Trades Association, which represents nurseries and tree growers, explained to Today Presenter Sarah Montague that the government had not been expected to compensate growers in the past, but this case is different.

"In the past, we haven't had a situation where we have recognised the disease, warned the government about it and they have not acted, and that's why I think this case is specifically different."


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