In light of recent media coverage on the risks posed by trees in areas of human traffic, the Arboricultural Association have released a message on tree safety, arguing that ‘as with all risks the issue of tree safety is a matter of balance’.
The Arboricultural Association represents all those across the industry involved in the nurture and promotion of amenity trees, whether tree surgeons, tree managers in private and local government sectors, or consultants. The UK’s tree stock is often taken for granted, but it requires active maintenance, management and forward planning.
Trees are frequently in the news for reasons ranging from this year’s spectacular spring flowering, the immense contribution they make to the essence of the British landscape character, and in contrast a recently reported tragic fatal accident. Although such events are very rare, currently averaging 6½ deaths a year, each case is desperately sad for those affected.
As with all risks the issue of tree safety is a matter of balance, and the publication of the National Tree Safety Group’s guidance “Common Sense Management of Trees” (December 2011) sets out a rational consideration of tree risk set against the comprehensive range of benefits that trees bring to the public at large. The Arboricultural Association (now celebrating its 50th year) provides training and support for professionals and the public alike in the appreciation and management of trees.
Although tree-related fatalities focus on the risks presented by trees, these should be considered in the full perspective of all the benefits which trees provide.
Chairman of the Association, Jago Keen, commented:
“Trees provide numerous practical benefits from reducing flood risk, absorbing pollution, stabilising soils, reducing noise and of course storing carbon, and the list goes on – but so many more in terms of ecology, landscape, screening and visual beauty.”
The rare incidence of accidents should be balanced with the millions of trees in our urban and rural landscapes. Those who may have concerns about tree safety can contact the Arboricultural Association, but the message is that trees are low risk and high benefit.
A key objective of the Arboricultural Association is to provide the public with clear objective information about trees and the role they play. Good professional maintenance by accredited contractors is critical and anyone who has a question over tree maintenance may contact their local tree officer for advice or contact a local, accredited tree surgeon – often referred to as Arb Approved Contractors.