The recent ‘weather bomb’ which hit the UK last week caused its fair share of loss, damage and disruption. The evidence speaks for itself…but what were the Arboricultural Impacts, and what can we learn from unpredictable events such as Storm DORIS.

Tree Risk Management

As was stated by a well known insurer last week “policies will cover storm damage….this is exactly the type of event that insurance is designed to cover…” [sic]

More often than not, however, there is a process to go through as described in your insurance policy small print. Insurers need to be satisfied that as the policy holder you have acted diligently, reasonably and sensibly.

Are your ducks in a row?

The general level of risk from trees is very low, BUT, limiting the risk of potential harm and making sure that you have behaved appropriately (as a responsible property owner) is ultimately the Duty Holder’s ‘get out of jail free card’.

In the event of trees falling and causing damage, ask yourself….have you managed tree-related risks such that they are ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable). Insurance is there in the event that otherwise LOW risks are realized by unforeseen circumstances such as Storm Doris.

PLEASE do not overreact to the sensationalist media coverage I have had the misfortune of reading over the last week – some of which I will put in another post. There is some very good, straightforward guidance freely available from the National Tree Safety Group about what you should be doing with regards your trees. The advice is proportionate to the risk posed by trees and defendable rather than defensive.


NTSG’s guidance “Common sense risk management of trees” is for anyone involved in tree safety management.

Arboricultural Impact Assessment – moving forward

Following on from last year’s National Amenity Tree Conference, a collaboration jointly hosted by the Landscape Institute, Aspect have been cordially invited to make a guest appearance at the AA’s South Eastern Branch AGM on the 25th January, at RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QB

Jon is going to deliver an updated version of the original presentation (Impact Assessment in arboriculture: an opportunity for development), to include recent feedback, research updates and additional real-world examples of why UK tree professionals need to up their game!

Details of the event can be found here:  AspectTree/

Jon’s original Sept 2016 presentation is available for download from the Arboricultural Association website: Amenity-Conference-2016-presentations

Arboricultural Impact Assessment – an opportunity for development?

Current best practice recommends that tree professionals work collaboratively to achieve a harmonious and sustainable relationship between trees and structures.

BS5837:2012 suggests that competent persons should provide specialist advice throughout the various phases of new developments….“responding to and resolving constraints as they emerge”. But, what does this actually mean? Unfortunately the BS provides no structured, systematic framework to identify, predict and assess tree-related impacts with any degree of consistency.

Over the past couple of years Aspect Tree Consultancy has been researching the issue(s) and developing ideas/opportunities to improve the effectiveness of Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA).

Layout imapct plan - render - BLOG crop

A number of solutions have been identified and we are now looking to promote a tangible, ratified system outline – which can be further developed with other professionals.

Effective Tree Constraints & BS 5837

The successful retention of trees in the development process starts with understanding the strengths & weaknesses of existing site features. Designing layouts around existing trees, hedges & woodlands, can be challenging for the most imaginative of us, so it is crucial to fully appreciate the constraints posed both now and in the future……..after all the trees are growing!

We’ve been working hard to deliver clear and effective tree constraints information. By improving and simplifying the process we are communicating key arboricultural issues as early as possible – and that’s where we are really seeing our work start to make a difference.

The main aim is getting ‘the right tree in the right place’, and where this is done well there are significant economic, social and environmental benefits. Good design can incorporate existing trees as long as the constraints are fully understood and integrated. The bigger and bolder the trees, the better the rewards.BLOG me - DesignTeam