The Arboricultural Association was founded in 1964 and is the largest body in the UK for the amenity tree care professional. A range of membership grades exists linked to National Qualifications Framework levels. Members can progress through the membership grade structure as their career progresses in either civic or commercial employment at craft, technical, supervisory, managerial or consultancy level. There are approximately 2,000 Arboricultural Association members.
The charitable objective of the Arboricultural Association is:“to advance the science of Arboriculture for the public benefit”
and that objective is met in a number of ways, particularly through the holding of seminars and conferences and by the publishing and distribution of a range of publications dealing with tree care - The ARB Magazine, the Arboricultural Journal and many other publications: booklets, leaflets, guidance notes, news releases and this website.
The Association's website offers users an up-to-the-minute national Directory of both Registered Consultants and ARB Approved Contractors. The people and companies listed in this website's Directories have met and have to maintain the Association's exacting standards: Consultants have to maintain Continuing Professional Development records and Contractors are regularly reassessed.
The Association stages two conferences each year, one focussing on utility arboriculture, the other on amenity arboriculture. Delegates, speakers and guests come from all over the world to this premiere event.
Throughout the year the Association organises training seminars and workshops on arboricultural themes. These events are open to members and non-members – a full list can be seen on this website’s training and events pages.
All grades of Association membership are encouraged to undertake continuing professional development and it is compulsory for some grades: Fellows, Professional Members, Technician Members and Registered Consultants.
The Association's business is governed by a board of directors who are also trustees of the charity. The directors are democratically elected by the members. The directors are supported by a number of committees and working groups, committee and group members being selected by the directors from volunteering members.
Regional branches provide a more local focus for members and each branch is governed by democratically elected branch officers.
The day to day running of the Association is managed by the staff based at The Malthouse, Standish near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire (see Staff Team).
The Arboricultural Association is represented on a number of national bodies including the Arboricultural Liaison Group, the British Standards Institution, the European Arboricultural Council, The Forestry Commission Biosecurity Programme Board, the Highways Authority, the Health and Safety Executive's Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group, Lantra SSC”s Trees and Timber Industry Group, the National Tree Safety Group, the NPTC Landbased Advisory Committee, the Society for the Environment, the Tree Council and the Trees and Design Action Group. It has also developed good working relations with central government, and is consulted on proposals for new or revised legislation and other matters which might have an influence on amenity trees.
The history of the Association
In 1964 a group of local government horticulturists and forestry officers, dismayed at the increasingly rapid erosion of the amenity trees in the landscape, formed the Arboricultural Association (AA). These people also recognised that standards of tree care and management were very low.
At the same time a group of equally concerned commercial tree surgeons established the Association of British Tree Surgeons and Arborists (ABTSA).
Ten years later the two organisations amalgamated to provide comprehensive representation of local government, commercial and lay interests. This is the Arboricultural Association of today.
Some of the notable areas in which the Association has influenced include positive support for the development of Tree Preservation Order and Conservation Area legislation, (Town and County Planning Acts); and the establishment of education courses in both tree surgery and arboriculture.
The Association has created professional standards of conduct and acceptable levels of workmanship and assessments leading to listing in the Association's website directory of Registered Consultants and ARB Approved Contractors. This is combined with promotion of safe working practices and arborists' equipment.
Each year the Association presents the Arboricultural Association Award, a prestigious award for services to arboriculture.
The Association has sought to liaise and co-operate with other kindred organisations in the interests of improving the landscape tree cover of Britain.
The progress of the Arboricultural Association would not be possible without the dedication and enthusiasm of its Officers, Editors, Committees, Branches, and its members, whose work is co-ordinated by the staff team from its head office in Gloucestershire.