Please don’t buy, store or bring elm logs into the city

We’re calling on people not to use elm tree logs this winter for their fires and wood burners.

Elm logs are perfect breeding ground for bark beetles that carry and spread elm disease which is devastating the city’s historic elm tree collection.

To alert people to the danger elm logs pose, we’ve erected large signage at four strategic points in the city which have high levels of people passing on foot and by vehicle. 

The signs state:

Elm disease is destroying our historic elm tree collection

If you’re buying wood logs this winter, please:

  • don’t buy elm logs – always check with the seller
  • don’t bring elm logs into the city – this spreads the disease
  • don't store elm logs in your home or garden – the infectious beetles will still breed

Help Brighton & Hove become elm disease free

'Please check your logs are not elm' 

The council is also calling on log traders to stop selling elm logs and is asking people buying logs to ensure they’re not elm.

Councillor Amy Heley, chair of the council’s environment, transport & sustainability committee, said: “I really hope people who are planning on buying logs for their fires or wood burners check that they’re not purchasing elm.

“I also hope traders understand the dangers they pose to our elm tree collection by selling elm logs and decide not to sell them.”

'If unsure, we'll check them for you' 

Councillor Heley added: “If anyone has already bought logs or have some in a wood store and are uncertain what they are, email elmdisease@brighton-hove.gov.uk and we’ll inspect them for you. If elm, we’ll dispose of them safely and give a similar quantity free of charge.

“Not buying, storing or selling elm logs will go a long way to helping the council tackle the disease before next spring when the warmer weather begins.” 

Elm disease is caused by:

  • fungi that is transferred from diseased to healthy elms by elm bark beetles
  • the disease being transferred underground between trees through the roots
  • new trees growing from infected fragments following the removal of a diseased tree

Councillor Heley said: “Brighton & Hove is rightly proud of its historic elm tree collection and the council is well known for protecting the trees. 

“However, this year we’ve faced a higher than usual outbreak of the disease due in part to the warm summer, problems in accessing private land with diseased elms, and beetles coming in from outside the city.

'We could lose many of our 17,000 elms'

“If the disease is not brought under control it could mean the city losing a large proportion of its 17,000 Elms. Trees captures damaging carbon dioxide emissions, so every tree we protect helps the council in its drive to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“To ensure the survival of our trees, we must do everything possible to protect them from disease and that includes the city trying to become elm disease free.” 

The signs are at the following locations:

  • Cliff top car park, Rottingdean
  • Ditchling Road / Coldean Lane junction
  • Kingsway, junction near King Alfred 
  • Lewes Road / Coldean Lane junction 

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