TREE felling will begin in Malvern next week amid concerns of a deadly tree disease.

The Malvern Hills Trust is chopping down trees affected by ash dieback at Earnslaw Quarry.

As a result, the upper part of the Earnslaw Quarry car park will be closed from September 27 to October 1.

Ash dieback, which was first identified in the UK in 2012, has spread across the country and causes the wilting of leaves, shoots to die back and often the death of the tree.

Infected trees can become brittle and likely to fail, so the removal of trees near to highways, properties and car parks is essential.

Further tree safety works to remove infected ash are due to begin this autumn after routine tree surveys to monitor the spread of the disease and condition of ash across the Trust's estate.

Jonathan Bills, conservation manager said: “For the second autumn in a row, we will be dealing with the most badly infected ash trees for public safety and there will be some trees next to highways and properties that will be felled. We are devastated to be losing any ash trees from the MHT estate”

Authorities state that eradicating the disease is not possible as it is caused by a fungus that is airborne and therefore cannot be controlled.

It is believed that a small percentage of ash trees may be tolerant to the disease and ash trees showing little or no signs of disease will be left and monitored.

Mr Bills added: “The impacts of ash dieback over the next 5 to 10 years are going to be significant in the Malvern Hills and Commons landscape.

"Evidence suggests that between 60-80% of the UK’s ash will be lost to the disease.

"It is estimated that 20% of trees under the Trust’s care are ash.

"As a charity with 1,200 hectares of land under our care, we are facing huge financial pressures as the disease takes hold and more practical management is needed in response.

"Many of the ash trees are on steep slopes near to roadsides requiring specialist and experienced contractors to safely remove them. This is expensive work at approximately £400 per tree."