Chalara ash dieback disease: Letter to The Times

Chalara ash dieback disease: Letter to The Times, John Varley, Estates Director

Chalara ash dieback disease: Letter to The Times

In response to recent news about the Chalara ash dieback disease that has attacked ash trees across mainland Europe and is now prevalent in the UK, Estates Director for Clinton Devon Estates John Varley gave his view to The Times:

The Times | Friday November 2 2012

Letters to the Editor

Border Control

Sir, UK authorities have known about dieback of ash in Europe since 1992. It became clear that an import ban was essential at least four years ago (letters, Oct 30 and 31). Parliamentary debates seem to focus on finding a minister to blame, but the problem lies with successive governments and regulatory authorities not taking our border controls seriously, and with nurseries, and consumers, not caring about the provenance of the plants and saplings they are buying from abroad.

Can MPs stop scoring political points and get together to address the issue of better surveillance and more effective border controls? We need a mindset based on the Australian model. It is probably too late to save our ash but we might be able to save the next tree or ecosystem threatened by an invasive species from outside our natural border.


Estates Director, Clinton Devon Estates,

Budleigh Salterton, Devon

We are trustees for life of the countryside

– 22nd Baron Clinton, 2002

But our power for good or evil in this world’s affairs in a countryside is enormous

– Robert Lipscomb, Steward 1865 – 1892

to set out against the Scots, the King’s enemies and rebels

– Instructions given by Edward 1 to John de Clinton on 8th April 1298, prior to him leading the Royal army to victory at the Battle of Falkirk. As a direct result the Clinton Barony was formed on 22nd July 1299

Do what you can to elevate your profession. It is an honourable one

– Robert Lipscomb, Steward 1865 – 1892

Handing over something more valuable than we have today,

– Estates ethos