The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson has admitted that the department believes that ash dieback, the disease that threatens the UK's ash trees, will not be eradicated.
The government has announced its action plan to deal with the problem, which involves an import ban, destruction of young infected trees, but no plans to destroy mature infected specimens.
They intent to try and find resistant plants and attempt to rebuild. However considering that this problem has been known about in Europe since 1992 (20 years!), it is all a case of locking the stable after the horse has well and truly bolted.
Mr Paterson stated that "The scientific advice is that it won't be possible to eradicate this disease now that we have discovered it in mature trees in Great Britain, however, that does not necessarily mean the end of the British ash. If we can slow its spread and minimise its impact, we will gain time to find those trees with genetic resistance to the disease and to restructure our woodlands to make them more resilient."
DEFRA stated that they were optimistic in finding resistant tree by next year.