Urgent work to remove diseased trees from county roadsides

Somerset County Council’s Highways team is continuing important work to remove diseased and dangerous ash trees along key routes.

Two such schemes both start on Monday 10 January affecting the A39 at Puriton and B3227 at Norton Fitzwarren.

There will be a full road closure on the A39 until Friday 14 January between the Puriton Hill junction on Bath Road to the A361 Pipers Inn junction at Ashcott, in order to carry out the work. The closure will be in force between 9.15am and 3.30pm for that working week, and a signed diversion will be in place. The road will be reopened outside of these times.

The clearance work on the B3227 through Norton Fitzwarren will also require a road closure. Work starts on Monday 10 January, between 9am and 3.30pm each day, and is scheduled to finish no later than Friday 21 January. The road will be reopened to traffic outside these times, on weekends and a signed diversion will be in place. It is closed so the landowner can facilitate the clearance work.

The operation will see several dead or diseased trees affected by ash dieback removed. The fungus, otherwise known as Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, is a national problem expected to kill or seriously damage over 95 per cent of the nation’s ash trees.

It’s been necessary to fell trees across the county during the last two years to keep road users safe – including on Plummer’s Lane (B3135) near Cheddar and at A39 Bristol Hill near Wells.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways said: “The risk of ash dieback near busy roads is a problem for all councils and we’ve been working hard to keep our roads safe since it was first detected in Somerset nearly ten years ago.

“It needs urgent proactive work to remove these trees and prevent them becoming a hazard, and whilst we know this may cause road users some short-term inconvenience, the safety of the public remains paramount – doing nothing isn’t an option. We’d advise road users to please plan ahead while these works are happening.”