A tree being scanned (left) and the scan of the interior

Specialist equipment uses soundwaves to 'see inside trees' to check if they are healthy

Specialist equipment that can 'see inside' trees to determine if they are healthy has been praised by Lancashire County Council.

Cllr Shaun Turner, cabinet member for cabinet member for planning and environment, revealed that the ground-breaking equipment allows Lancashire County Council to save more old, large trees, which may look like they are dead or dying, from the axe.

The arborsonic tree decay detector scan takes around 10 minutes. A member of the council's trees team will attach a series of clips to the tree and the equipment takes a 3D model, showing a 'heatmap' of life within the trunk. The test uses soundwaves, no radiation and does not harm the tree.

The speed that the soundwave travels through rotten or sound wood, or cavities, differs and this creates the cross-sectional image of the wood's density.

It costs the council around £3,000 to fell each large tree that looks as if it could pose a risk to members of the public, so the £12,000 decay detector will pay for itself very quickly.

Cllr Shaun Turner said: "The tree decay detector is a fantastic investment and means that we will be able to keep some of our oldest, biggest trees, safely and with confidence, for longer.

"This equipment means that we can see inside the trees via the scans, which show the size and location of decayed or hollow regions. This will be especially useful in determining whether we can save a tree that may look as though it is dying when it is not.

"We know that Lancashire's residents feel very strongly about the importance of trees and this fantastic investment means that we can now better assess and protect more of our trees going forward."