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ash dieback wiltshire
Ash dieback work being carried out in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Council is closing the A350 between Semley Common and the Dorset border just north of Shaftesbury for essential safety work to fell ash trees that are infected with ash dieback disease.

The authority says that to help minimise disruption, the section of the road will be closed between 8pm and 6am from Monday 3 October to Friday 14 October on the weekdays only – there will be no closures on the Saturday and Sunday nights. There will also be a temporary 30mph speed restriction through the site during the day for the duration of the works to ensure the safety of road users and the tree surgeon teams undertaking the work.

While the road is closed through the night, a full diversion will be in place using the A36, A303 and the A30, depending on the direction of travel.

Ash dieback disease weakens and eventually kills ash trees. The diseased branches – and sometimes the tree itself – can fall, which is especially dangerous next to a busy road such as the A350, the council says.

Councillor Dr Mark McClelland, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport, said: ‘We apologise for any inconvenience this causes people, but this is essential safety work and we have tried to keep disruption to a minimum by scheduling these works through the night.

‘Unfortunately, ash dieback is killing and weakening all our ash trees, and while felling them is a decision we don’t take lightly, it’s something we have to do to keep this road safe for all users.

‘We have committed to improving and protecting Wiltshire’s biodiversity in our Business Plan, and so for each one of these ash trees that is felled, we’ll be planting three more native trees; some at the same site and others in different parts of the county.

‘I’d urge any Wiltshire landowners with ash trees on their land – particularly next to a public footpath or highway – they should have them professionally surveyed and felled as appropriate to keep people safe.’

To find out more about roadworks in Wiltshire, people can visit: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/highways-road-closures

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