Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

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Finalising the VETcert standard

Last Updated:  22/06/2018

Having received over 350 responses to the public consultation on the Veteran Tree Management Standards, the Ancient Tree Forum was tasked with the job of collating and analysing them.

Finalising the VETcert standard

Overall the feedback was positive and constructive: a relief for all involved. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation; your comments were invaluable in helping us improve the standards.

Run in parallel with the public consultation, the standards were reviewed by our independent expert, Dr David Lonsdale. David, having gone through the standards with a finetooth comb, provided a number of useful comments to help guide the finalising process.

With these comments suitably digested, the partner team met during March in Brno, Czech Republic. Our hosts for the meeting were our Czech Partners, Safe Trees, who took the opportunity to show off their wonderful new offices as well as to introduce us to some Czech culture.

The meeting gave the partners the opportunity to discuss various project matters, including reporting, timesheets, and of course the Veteran Tree Management Standards. We worked through the comments received, with each partner representing the views from their home countries. The difficult task of deciding how to amend the standards then followed.

Partners ruminated on the comments and then put fingers to keyboard to resolve the points. The native English speakers perhaps got too hung up on choosing the exact use of particular words or phrases; there was much confusion from our European partners when we discussed, at length, the nuances between a ‘tree survey’ and a ‘tree inspection’. Evidently in most other European languages the two words mean exactly the same thing!

Despite making good headway, it was apparent that a two-day meeting was not long enough to consider and incorporate the necessary changes. As a result, following the meeting, there were a few late night Skype conversations held to resolve the comments.,/p>

The production of the standards has taken over a year, with input from hundreds of people, many of whom have given up a large amount of their time to help improve the standards.

The Ancient Tree Forum would like to thank all of those who have assisted with this process. It’s heartening to see so many people engage with the project and help us further the discipline of veteran tree management.

With the standards almost finalised the project can look to the next task. In January, the third work item commenced: the production of new training material. This element is being led by one of our Swedish partners, Pro Natura.

Finalising the VETcert standard

Two new education videos, similar to those produced as part of the VETree project, were filmed at Hatfield Forest. The topics for these videos are ‘pole thinning of lapsed pollards’ and ‘reduction via ring barking’. The films are currently in post-production and will be made available by the end of the project.

Not content with just one new work item to tackle, the Arboricultural Association provided an update on their work item: setting up of the accreditation scheme. The Association set out how they see the scheme working, ensuring it provides a high quality product for a fair price. Over the next six months they will work out the nuts and bolts that will form the accreditation scheme (see page 29 of Issue 181 of the ARB Magazine).

The VETcert is an Erasmus+ funded project which seeks to raise standards in veteran tree care across Europe. The project will conclude in August 2019, after which the accreditation scheme will be available for professionals to apply to. For more information contact Jim Mullholland: training@ancienttreeforum.co.uk

Article taken from Issue 181 of the ARB Magazine.