Larch Disease

Phytophthora Ramorum is affecting large areas of land across the UK, including here in the North West.

Our woodland teams work really hard to manage catchment land around all our reservoirs and sites to:

  • Help protect the quality of water which flows through the catchment and into the reservoir
  • Provide a diverse and sustainable landscape for recreational use and to encourage wildlife  

We’re really saddened when we have to fell trees on our sites, but sometimes it's essential to control and prevent the spread of disease.

  • Why do trees need to be felled?

    Phytophthora Ramorum is an organism that causes the death of a wide range of trees and shrubs.  Across the UK, the greatest impact has been found to affect woodlands, with larch being particularly affected.  The felling must be carried out to comply with a Statutory Plant Health Notice issued by the Forestry Commission, to reduce the spread of the disease to other woodlands.

    The disease is harmless to people and animals, but it is highly contagious and if not controlled can spread extensively to other plants and has the potential to destroy vast habitats if left unmanaged.

  • Which sites will require tree felling to take place?

    The Statutory Plant Health Notice has been issued as a result of confirmed cases identified at Lamaload Reservoir, near Macclesfield. The work will be carried out by specialist contractors.

  • When will the tree felling work start?

    The felling will be completed as quickly as possible to remove the infected trees and reduce the likelihood of the disease spreading.

  • How many trees are affected?

    Unfortunately the disease is quite extensive and we expect that the tree loss is equivalent to almost 20 hectares (25 football pitches) at Lamaload.  The overview map indicates the affected areas.

  • Will I still be able to visit and enjoy the site?

    Of course, you can still visit and we hope it won’t spoil your enjoyment.  We may need to create some new access points and there will be some noise and additional vehicles as the contractors move around the site to carry out the felling work. Please take extra care and do not enter areas where trees are being removed – these will be clearly signed to keep you and the team safe.

  • Can I do anything to help minimise the disease spreading?

    We really appreciate your help and there are a few simple things you can do when visiting our sites. 

    • Before you leave please knock off any soil and mud from footwear and bike wheels to prevent it leaving the area.  It’s also a good idea to give them a thorough wash when you get home before visiting any other woodlands and parks too.

    • Please keep to marked paths.

    • We know dogs love to explore, but please keep all four-legged friends on a lead.

    • Please leave wood and plant material where it is.

  • What will happen next?

    Once the felling work has been completed, we'll replant with predominantly native tree species to ensure the area will recover, whilst providing biodiversity along with water quality and landscape enhancement measures for future generations to enjoy.

    Wherever possible, timber from the larch trees will be converted to products by saw mills and other secondary processors so it can be used for construction timber, fencing products, pallet wood and biomass energy.