In Southampton on July 6 the City Council Civic Office hosted a very special meeting at which representatives of tree officer groups from all over the country came together for the first time to discuss a wide-ranging agenda.
The London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) recognises that there are common issues affecting tree officers everywhere, regardless of geography, and that many of these obstacles can best be overcome by working more closely together. To this end the LTOA have recently facilitated a series of conference calls between different tree officer groups and forums, culminating in the Southampton meeting.
Six groups were represented in Southampton; the LTOA, the Municipal Tree Officers Association, the Wessex Tree Officers Association, the Kent Tree Officer Group, the Hampshire Tree Officer Forum and the West Sussex Tree Officer Group. Representatives from the Isle of Man, the Thames Valley Tree Officer Forum, the Devon and Cornwall Tree Officer Group and the Surrey Tree Officer Group also participated via conference call. The meeting was kindly hosted by the Hampshire Tree Officer Forum and Southampton City Council and was Chaired by John Parker of the LTOA. The meeting was preceded by a well-attended Hampshire Tree Officer Forum meeting.
Chair John Parker said “tree officers all over the UK face many of the same challenges and in the face of austerity are expected to deliver more with less. The success of the Southampton tree officer
congress is an exciting example of tree officer groups working more closely together, collectively seeking solutions and finding new ways to represent our members.”
Sarah Kiss, Senior Tree Officer at Southampton City Council said “arboriculture is facing some challenging issues of national importance. Southampton is pleased to play a small part in helping share information and to be part of the national solution with our neighbouring authorities.”