11 Sep 2012

Caring for your trees - Risk Management

Over the next few weeks, we will be writing to all Parish  and Town Councils in Oxfordshire and adjoining counties to advise them of their responsibility for trees that they own and manage.

The Law states that all Local Authorities must maintain a Risk Management Register, identifying potential areas and items that may present a risk to the public.  Unfortunately this often fails to include trees.  But with autumn on the horizon, bringing with it the usual strong winds and heavy rain, councils need to take a responsible approach to the management of their trees ensuring:

  • They are structurally sound
  • They won't fall over
  • And that branches don't fall and cause injury

If councils own trees on land with public access, they are required to take reasonable action to make sure that their trees do not present a danger to people or property.  Councils can protect their position of liability, by having their trees inspected by a tree expert  on an annual or biennial basis, provided of course they have acted upon the advice given.  Parish Councils also need to be aware that if their trees are covered by Tree Preservation Orders, or are within a Conservation Area, they are still responsible for making sure they are in a safe condition.

Sacha Barnes Director, Jeremy Sacha, said "At Sacha Barnes, we have many years' experience of inspecting trees and giving advice on responsible tree care and management.  We are not tree contractors, and therefore our advice is totally independent and not influenced by the possible value of subsequent tree work.  If no immediate work is required we will tell you so, but if remedial work is essential we will give it a rating with either a high, medium or low priority.  You can then spread the programme and cost ot the work to help manage your annual budget."

Jeremy added.  "A few months ago, Bloxham Parish Council in North Oxfordshire decided that they needed to take a more proactive position on their tree care responsibilities.  They commissioned our expert service to survey, inspect and report on all the trees in their recreation fields, parks and open spaces.  They now have a comprehensive record of tree numbers, their position, species, size and condition which can be held on their Risk Management Register.  This will be updated each year as part of their duty of care as a responsible Local Authority.

David Chapman, Chairman of Bloxham Parish Council said:

"As a responsible Parish Council we wanted to make sure that the trees we owned were in good condition and that they did not present a danger to the users of our parks and open spaces.  We commissioned Sacha Barnes Limited to research, survey, measure and report on all trees in the Parish Council ownership, and will now act upon their recommendations.  I am pleased to recommend their excellent tree management services."

For more information on Sacha Barnes Tree Care and Risk Management Services or for advice on Landscape Planning call now on 01295 817640




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