HEYwoods should be helping to warn the wider public of growing ecological problems - and the implications for humanity. Unfortunately many people don't want to know and/or think it won't affect them personally ('not in my lifetime' they so often say). However - it is the the duty of local (and national) government to try to inform and educate.
I feel we should not underplay the seriousness of ash dieback - because it's just one more symptom of a planetary disease. Trees are the most visible lungs of the planet, and I feel it's no coincidence that many tree species around the world are now diseased and succumbing to the increasingly disastrous effects of the activities of our species. It's been a love-hate relationship between humanity and trees - in the ancient past we lived amongst them, and then we venerated them. We are healed by their presence and we copy their shapes in our architecture (cf the columns and vaulting of our cathedrals) , but as our numbers and technology increased we began to decimate them for building and burning, and simply making space and light for crops, animals and buildings. Our life spans are so short compared with trees that we fail to see the long term view - and they are unable to explain to us (Tolkein makes this point through the Ents in The Lord of the Rings!)
No wonder green activists are often called 'tree huggers' - trees symbolise the much bigger picture that the green movement tries to make everyone aware of.
In terms of what should be done locally: yes we need urgently to plant trees, aiming for diversity and resilience as well as use... permaculture in fact. We also need to educate, because the underlying problem is rampant 'growth' -based politics which - on a finite planet - is working to annihilate not only trees but all of us.
So I would suggest that we start to plan for the creation of a woodland park as a permaculture show-case (alongside all the other planting which is necessary). This would be highly appropriate for Hull and East Riding - not least to increase its tourism 'product' !
best wishes to all for 2013
Hull and East Riding Green Party
Beverley & East Riding Friends of the Earth