DOZENS of infected trees beside a Haddington primary school will be felled next week.

Ash trees the length and breadth of the country have been affected by ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea).

The fungal disease causes leaf loss and canopy decline – and in some cases causes the trees to die.

On Tuesday, East Lothian Council’s forestry team is starting “a fairly large” job at Millfield – the home of Haddington Athletic Football Club.

Thirty-six semi-mature ash trees infected with the disease will be felled, with plans for a replacement planting programme later in the year.

The trees are growing within the football ground but are next to the Haddington Joint Campus School access road.

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said: “Symptoms of ash dieback disease became increasingly visible across Scotland in 2020, including on large, mature ash trees.

“The impact of this disease has escalated rapidly in the south of England in particular, and it is likely that Scotland will soon be on a similar trajectory.

“Current evidence suggests at least 50 per cent to 75 per cent of Scotland’s approximately 11 million mature ash trees may die over the next two decades.

“Ash dieback has spread across the UK and has now been confirmed in East Lothian.”

The spokesperson said the condition was “widespread” in East Lothian and was previously found at some sites last year.

They added: “We are proposing to start work on priority sites this winter to remove infected trees which could be a health and safety hazard.

“Further works will take place in the coming years as required.”

Meanwhile, the council has also hit out after a commemorative tree was damaged for the third time.

Haddington and District Amenity Society (HADAS) put a plaque in place on the town’s Ball Alley to highlight a row of lime trees and their origins in Haddington’s old industries.

But a recently planted tree at the site has been vandalised for the third time.

The council spokesperson confirmed a new tree would be planted on the site.