FutureArb’s inaugural programme of seminars consisted of four hour long speeches from a mixture of tree industry figureheads. Co-locating with Futurescape, Eljays44’s first trade event serving the arboriculture industry attracted growing interest on the 30 present stands and seminar rooms throughout the day. Carrie Brassley, of international NGO Tree Aid, opened the presentations with an introduction behind the organisation’s formation and ongoing charity work in Africa’s poorer countries. Arboricultural consultant Jonathan Hazell chaired the health and safety debate on a seven person professional panel focusing on compliance issues for small contractors. AA technical officer Paul Smith returned to the stage in the afternoon session to raise the profile of the ARB Approved Contractor Scheme. Glendale Civic Trees’ Deric Newman rounded off FutureArb’s seminar sessions by guiding the largest audience of the day through an evolution of tree moving techniques up to present day practices.
View our full pictorial re-cap from FutureArb 2015 in our December issue of Pro Arb, coming out soon.
Founded by foresters in the 1980s, Tree Aid’s primary objective is to prevent deforestation and combat poverty and malnutrition by raising awareness of tree planting benefits. Carrie spoke of Tree Aid’s work in promoting fruit trees not only as a source of good nutrition, but a valuable trading asset. Resource management is key to developing Africa’s landscapes Carrie urged, while women receive the majority of support as they are at greater risk, often having to raise large families alone. Jalia from Northern Ghana was used as a positive example of a successful case study who profited from using shea trees. Tree Aid educated her about the advantages of planting and maintaining shea trees, teaching her that they could provide another revenue stream at market.
Health and Safety debate
The programme’s main event surfaced opinions on the re-current disregard for qualifications and competence in some areas by ‘tree practitioners’. Simon Wilson of Tree Surgeon Insurance Services argued the case of every business owning the minimum cover and addressed the employer liability requirements for sub-contracted staff. Jonathan sympathised with him, yet felt there could be a ‘cost burden’ for start-up companies who don’t require fully-encompassing cover. Competence was also highlighted with price dictating the client’s decision making as opposed to employing legitimate arborists. Panellist Paul Smith (Arboricultural Association) praised skills framework currently delivered by the Register of Tree Work operatives (R2) after industry regulation standards were contested. Speaking from experience, Johnathan believes the Arb Association’s standard-raising ARB Approved Contractor Scheme has improved companies’ local reputation. Despite this, he conceded that it is hard to regulate the door to door ‘tree surgeon’ and expressed how customers can’t be expected to comprehend the regulatory frameworks.
Tips on becoming an accredited Arb member
Established by the AA nearly 40 years ago, the ArbAC Scheme was created to represent the industry for quality assured arboricultural contracting. The Scheme now caters for all business sizes and the smaller standard (five or less employees has gained 70 members since 2011. Offering a ‘partnership’ to the contractor, Paul described how the Scheme requires contractors to pass worksite safety and quality inspections including examples of tree pruning and planting. Debate panellist Reg Harris (Home Forestry) works alongside Paul part-time for the Scheme and enthused how the standard guidelines act as a compliant insurance policy. Prospective members can view the standards for proper practice online and participate in free of charge workshops should they become accredited. Paul stated that contractors must obtain CS41 tickets prior to approval in addition to passing work site safety and quality inspections (including examples of tree planting and pruning). These inspections make up the Scheme’s formal assessment and Paul challenged foremen to manage their crew. “Engage your team and demonstrate strong leadership in preparation for assessment day.” Paul revealed that only 5% of contractors pass with first-time full approval.
Fifty years ago, Deric’s father Chris was a key figure in helping to develop the large tree moving industry which led to the Newman Frame becoming the standard equipment for rootball management. Recalling the development of the tree spade and its functions since arriving in Europe (1968), Deric pinpointed the best-suited season, conditions and preparation time for moving trees. Showcasing Civic Tree’s tree moving service in action, Deric presented an insightful time-lapse video of a large oak being moved from a private Berskshire estate in association with Chelsea award winning landscapers, Rosebank. Supported by M&M crane hire, the video displayed the large team effort needed to safely secure the trunk and rootball before being winched from the ground. In Deric’s words, the video helped to ‘dispel’ a few myths about tree moving while demonstrating the transportation and re-planting strategy in a local wooded area.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JetNg81r7UU