Nightmare For Elm Trees Under Threat At Porthmellon

elm trees porthmellon

There’s growing concern for three elm trees that might get uprooted to make way for a temporary road to the Moorwell refuse site.

The Council’s waste consultants SLR have submitted the application for a new access through the Porthmellon Industrial Estate.

That followed discussions with the Moorwell Improvement Group, who are worried about increased traffic on Moorwell Lane during upcoming to clear the backlog of rubbish on the site.

The Council have had some letters supporting the scheme but four people have written to the Planning Department, objecting to the loss of the rare trees.

Vickie Heaney says the elms are important and provide screening for the site, which could take decades to replace.

But it’s a rare lichen that only lives on elm trees that’s causing most interest.

Dr Mark Spencer is an expert in trees from the Natural History Museum. He was part of the team that made a survey of Scilly’s plant and animal life over the summer.

Mark says the trees are home to a very endangered lichen called Bacidia incompta, which only lives on elms.

Over the summer, Mark’s museum colleague Dr Holger Thüs, found several sites in Scilly where this lichen was growing.

He says he doesn’t know if it’s on the Porthmellon trees, but that needs investigating.

Mark says our elm trees are of international importance.

The islands are one of the few places in North West Europe that still has a significant population of the species, after most were wiped out by Dutch elm disease in the 1970s.

Mark says only Brighton has a similar colony and these need constant protection to avoid the disease getting in.

He adds that elm trees take a long time to mature and it could take several decades to replace them if they’re uprooted.

The application is expected to go before the next Planning meeting on the 19th November.

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