Published Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Ash trees in England affected by the disease. (© Getty)
Last week the Chalara disease was discovered at five sites in counties Antrim and Down.
More than 3,500 infected saplings at three of the sites have been destroyed.
Updating the Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, Forest Service Chief Executive Malcolm Beatty said an imported consignment of 22,000 saplings had been delivered from Scotland to 36 sites across NI - which official investigators are now visiting.
"All of these sites are currently being visited and inspected and, where necessary, containment and destruction orders served," said Mr Beatty.
"More than 3,500 infected saplings on three sites in Counties Down and Antrim have already been destroyed by burning and deep burial. When the disease was first confirmed we acted swiftly and vigorously to eradicate.
"As sites are confirmed, through laboratory testing, destruction notices are served for the infected saplings and associated debris to be burned or deep buried.
"The risk of spread at this time year is low and our surveillance will continue, taking in recently planted sites of ash in public and private woodland, roadside plantings, established trees, hedgerows and nurseries."
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