There are only two reasons why Tree Officers are employedby Local Authorities (LA)4.Duty of Care under Risk Management(looking after the LA tree stock)6.Duty to protect trees under the Town & Country PlanningAct 1990 section 197 & 198 Every LA should be employing a Tree Officer
Case Law & CasesBirmingham Ash tree failure 1999Poll vs Bartholomew 2006Portsmouth School 2003National Trust Durham 2007Wandsworth Common2002Bowen VNational Trust 2011
Duty of CareLegislation The Health & Safety Act 1974 (Section 3 ‘duty of care to the public) Management of Health & Safety regulations 1999 Part 3 ‘Risk Assessments’ The Owners & Occupiers Act 1957 & 1984 ‘invited & uninvited guests’ The Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act 2007 result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care. − Improvement notice. − Corporate Negligence. − Controlling Mind. − Corporate Governance.Definition of an accident OED: an unforeseen event or without apparentcause.Accidere to happen.Serious tree defects can be foreseen hence a failure can be identified.
Further Legislation & Government Advice. The Highways Act 1980 Section 154 The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 Key word ‘imminent’ The Trunk Road ManualGovernment Circular 90/73- Inspection, Maintenance and Planting ofRoadside Trees on Rural Roads Government Circular 52/75- Inspection of Highway TreesBoth 90/73 & 5275 have now been superseded by ‘Well MaintainedHighways: Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance ManagementDepartment of Transport 2005
Further Legislation & Government Advice. HSE Sector Information Minute (SIM 01/2007/ 05) Management of Risk from Falling Trees Legal cases and case law Guidance from Professional bodies e.g. Arboricultural Association, Forestry Commission, LANTRA Management Plans, Strategies, Procedure and Policy
Acceptable levels of riskSource HSE & BMA1- 1 000 acceptable risk in the working environment.1- 100 000 acceptable public risk.The chances of being killed or seriously injured by a tree is1- 10 000 000= 6 people a year.However, even though the risk of a tree fatality or injuryis low this is not an excuse to not survey ones trees and this low figurecan also be accounted to the current good Arboricultural management of thetree stock within LAs.It’s all about what’s considered reasonable with the resources available and thedifferent levels of inspection i.e. drive buys, Park keepers farmers, home owners….Entering a rural woodland or environment then the emphasis would be on the walkertaking and accepting responsibility in such an environment.
In order to discharge our Duty of CareOne must: Regularly inspect their trees. Record the inspections. Prioritise areas Prioritise works Schedule works Sign off works Next inspection date
Cyclical Works Schedule 2007-2013 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013April-Aug Sep-Mar April-Aug Sep-Mar April-Aug Sep-MarOxhey CarpendersHall Park Croxley Green Leavesden Sarrett Moor Park Maple Croxley Green ChorleywoodHayling Cross North Langlebury East & West Eastbury Croxley Green Bedmond & RickmansworthNorthwick Mill End South Primrose Hill West AbbotsAshridge Penn Langley Rickmansworth
To date Before April 2007 no formal Tree Surveys had been undertaken within TRDC Paper Surveys were implemented after 2007. Trees in Town 2 states all LAs should now have computerised databases Confirm Arb. is now in use. Failure list, further mechanical investigation, storm spread sheet, condition ofthe Tree Stock etcetera. Current British Standard being drafted for tree inspections and a nationalfatalities/ injury list.Proactive verses Reactive Tree Management?An incident then- A Defendable System?Better to be prosecuted for human error rather than negligence.You can be found negligent for not implementing works.
Not AcceptableIt is not acceptable to hope that the Insurance will pay out for a failure.Insurance companies may not pay out if regular tree surveysare not being carried out.A tree on the rail line costs £250 000 for every 20 minutes of no service.You will be charged if you cannot produce a valid tree survey.A tree fatality or personal injury claim is the biggest possible payoutan Insurance company/ LA can experience running into millions.
ReferencesBritt, C. Johnston, M. Tree in Town 2 DCLG 2007Government Circular 52/75- Inspection of Highway TreesGovernment Circular 90/73- Inspection, Maintenance and Planting of RoadsideBoth 90/73 & 5275 have now been superseded by ‘Well Maintained Highways:Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance Management Department ofTransport 2005HSE Sector Information Minute (SIM 01/2007/ 05) Management of Riskfrom Falling TreesManagement of Health & Safety regulations 1999 Part 3The Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act 2007The Health & Safety Act 1974 (Section 3 ‘duty of care to the public)The Highways Act 1980 Section 154The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976The Owners & Occupiers Act 1957 & 1984 ‘invited & uninvited guests’The Trunk Road Manual 1980