Larch felling near Lampeter in 2021
A tree felling operation is due to take place in Upper Forest, Lower Forest and Lodge Wood on the outskirts of Lampeter towards the end of 2021. This is necessary because of the widespread presence of larch disease in the forest blocks.
The felling work
While the disease itself is harmless to people, it is often fatal to larch trees. As a result, a Statutory Plants Health Notice (SPHN) has been issued on those trees. A SPHN requires the destruction of the trees.
The type of felling in the forest blocks will depend on the concentration of larch in a given area as described below:
- Sections with high concentration of larch: These sections will have to be clear-felled. This means that every tree in these sections will be felled except for large and healthy broadleaf trees.
- Sections without a high concentration of larch: The larch in these sections will be selectively felled and native broadleaf species will be allowed to grow. Selective felling will have some visual impact on those sections of forest.
- Sections with no larch: These sections will undergo the normal thinning process as part of the standard management of forestry. Thinning has only a minimal visual impact.
The below map shows the kind of felling that will take place in different sections of the forest blocks.
The yellow sections will be clear-felled, the blue sections will be selectively felled, and the green sections will be thinned. No felling will take place in areas of forest which are not highlighted in colour.
Larch disease, or phytophthora ramorum, is a fungus-like disease which can cause extensive damage and mortality to a wide range of trees and other plants. Larch disease spreads through airborne spores from tree to tree. It poses no threat to human or animal health.
Whilst we cannot stop the spread of larch disease, we can take action to slow it down.
In 2013, surveys identified that larch disease was spreading rapidly across forestry in Wales, sparking a nationwide strategy to remove diseased trees to stop it spreading further.
The disease has infected approximately 6.7 million larch trees across the whole of Wales and has had a dramatic impact on our forestry.
Why is the work necessary?
The clear-felling of sections of forestry will have a significant impact on the local landscape. While this is regrettable, it is necessary for two key reasons:
- Safety: If left to stand, the diseased larch will eventually die and fall of their own accord. This is a clear safety issue which can only be managed by felling the trees in a controlled manner.
- We are legally required to comply with the SPHN: Statutory Plants Health Notices are issued to tackle the spread of plant disease.
In addition to the above key reasons, felling the trees while they are still in a saleable condition allows us – as the manager of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate – to sell the felling rights for the timber. The funds raised from selling the felling rights is immediately re-invested into the estate, allowing us to manage our forests sustainably.
After the felling
After the felling has taken place, the clear-felled sections will be replanted with native broadleaf tree species. This will eventually restore ancient woodland features to the area and will help local biodiversity to flourish.
When will the felling take place?
We are not in a position to confirm the exact time of the work at this stage. We will confirm the timing of the work when we have the information.
The felling right for this block of forestry will go up for sale in July 2021 and we would expect the contractors to start felling work before the end of the year. In line with standard practice, the contractor will have six months to complete the work, including haulage of the timber.
What impact could the work have on local residents?
Felling operations may cause disruption to local residents as it is a process which requires heavy machinery and haulage.
NRW will place conditions on the sale of the felling rights that will aim to mitigate the disruption it could have on the local community, and to residents living close to the forest in particular. These conditions include:
- Felling and haulage time restrictions: Felling and haulage will only be permitted to take place on weekdays and between 8am and 6pm.
- Public restriction: As felling is a hazardous process, we will ensure that steps are in place to protect people and to restrict access to the areas being felled. To protect public safety, we will not allow the work to start before the school term starts in September. This is to reduce the risk of children and young people being in the forests while the work takes place.
Want to know more?
We are happy to answer any questions from people who would like to know more or are concerned about the work. You can:
- Call us on 0300 065 3000 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org