A forestry expert has warned that more than 500,000 ash trees in Cumbria are directly threatened after new cases of Chalara Ash Dieback Disease were confirmed.

The latest information released by the Forestry Commission shows confirmed reports in the Borrowdale area among those affected.

Professor Ted Wilson, director of Silviculture Research International, based in Penrith, said reports of the disease in ash trees in Cumbria was the “news we have all been dreading”.

He added: "In 2014 a large area of infection was identified in north Lancashire so we feared it would only be a matter of time before Cumbria saw new cases."

Ash Dieback could turn out to be as environmentally damaging as Dutch Elm Disease, which wiped out millions of trees in the UK in the 80s and 90s. 

Prof Wilson said: "In Borrowdale there are so many historic pollarded tress. The National Trust has been carefully managing and preserving them for a long long time. 

"These trees are part of the farming system first introduced along with Herdwick sheep in Viking times, over 1,000 years ago.

“The loss of these trees is a direct threat to the landscape of Cumbria and the Lake District National Park.”

People are urged to report sightings of the disease at www.forestry.gov.uk/treealert