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Meet the assessors

Author:  Françoise Henrion-Brown
  09/08/2023
Last Updated:  09/08/2023

Françoise Henrion-Brown, Business Development Manager

We now have a team of 11 assessors undertaking ARB Approved assessment around the UK and in Ireland. Between them, they have over 250 years of knowledge and experience!

They are Andy Gardner, Chris Cooper-Abbs, Chris White, Guy Watson, Kevin Moore, Martin Lennon, Paul Elcoat, Paul McBride, Paul Smith, Simon Cox and Tony Lane.

We also have trainee assessors who are finishing their intensive training and will be joining the team with the next few months.

Members of the ARB Approved Contractor assessment team

Andy Gardner

Andy Gardner

I have worked in the industry for over 20 years, in the commercial and the utility sectors, specialising in utility arb. I became a trainer and assessor to help improve the standards of training available in utility arb. I have also been a contractor and an auditor, and I want to use my knowledge and experience to help passionate, professional companies of all sizes achieve Approved Contractor status and become recognised as leaders in their field.

Chris White

Chris White

Cut Above Specialist Tree Services offers a full arboricultural service as an ARB Approved Contractor, including tree work, surveys, reports, amenity planting schemes, woodland management, fencing and timber construction. In addition, I founded Treevolution Scotland in 1999. It concentrates on training and development for the forestry and arboricultural industries, offering a wide range of courses validated by Lantra and NPTC City & Guilds. Treevolution has delivered training to NPTC assessors and verifiers, Health & Safety Executive inspectors and a variety of agencies employing tree work contractors.

Guy Watson

Guy Watson

I have been working in arboriculture for over 35 years. Contracting, Merrist Wood 1985–87 (just in time for the great storm), some more contracting, local authority, Association Technical Officer and finally, for the last 18 years, as a consultant. During my time at the Association I carried out Approved Contractor assessment as part of my duties and have maintained that as part of my business today. This keeps me in touch with the contracting side of arboriculture which is vital in my role as a consultant specifying works. I also instruct the Professional Tree Inspection course and the ISA TRAQ process. Again, being in touch with contractors, and ensuring specifications are clear, possible and practicable, as part of that process are important to ensure that trees are managed effectively. I am supported in the business by Lynda, who is a co-director and manages everything.

James Jackman

James Jackman

I’m the Managing Director of long-established Approved Contractor Treeline Services Ltd, based in Dorking, Surrey. I have been in the industry for 28 years and an Approved Contractor for most of that time. As well as my day-to-day role within my company, I started my journey as an assessor in 2018 by gaining my Nebosh qualification and then working with other assessors to gain some knowledge of undertaking the assessments and a better understanding of the SSIP-required elements of the scheme before going solo as a Lead Assessor at the start of 2022. The role is very rewarding, and using my knowledge and passion for the industry I find it a real privilege to be able to be part of the new journey for companies going through the process for the first time, and equally being part of the reassessment process for ensuring ongoing compliance for existing contractors. I am looking forward to working with many other companies in the future and being part of their journey within the Approved Contractor Scheme.

Martin Lennon

Martin Lennon

I have been an ARB Approved Contractor Assessor for many years now, and I lead on the management and assessment of the Utility Scheme, which I developed in 2016. I also carry out assessments for the Amenity Scheme. I have 44 years’ experience within the arb and forestry sector, and I work as an expert witness for the HSE and legal firms and as a member of the Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group (AFAG) committee, three FISA working groups and the Association’s Utility Arboriculture Group. I am passionate about ensuring my broad commercial, practical and management experience helps ensure both AC schemes not only support contractors to consider and manage the legal and industry good practice requirements, but also help reassure contractors and their clients and protect them from prosecution. I am based in north-west England and work mainly in the UK and Ireland – I think of my utility work in the USA as ‘a learning experience’. Although I don’t deliver as much technical/practical training as I used to, I deliver IOSH Managing Safely and Supervisor Development training which I have tailored to the arb and forestry industry. I also run a consultancy business, Arboricultural and Forestry Support Services.

Paul Elcoat

Paul Elcoat

Since I entered arboriculture in the early ’90s, I have had experience of most aspects of the industry. I ran my own contracting business in Durham before becoming an instructor, assessor, verifier and lecturer. I later progressed to being the director concerned with all things environmental, H&S, HR, sales, and marketing for a large arb contracting company in the Midlands where I worked on many large prestigious contracts. For the last 18 years I have spent my time helping consultants and contractors to implement systems, achieve certification and find customers, as well as being an assessor for the ARB Approved Contractor Scheme. I have the privilege of having worked with around 250 great arb companies in the UK and overseas alongside my talented colleagues at Elcoat Ltd.

Paul Smith

Paul Smith
– Contractor Schemes Technical Officer

In post since June 2005, I’ve seen some changes in the industry and in the scheme, and had the privilege of working with, and assessing, many arboricultural contractors over the years – thank you. My main role these days is undertaking the desktop audit aspects of the assessment process but I do still get on site occasionally to meet like-minded people and see some (mostly) great tree work. Remember, we’re always here to help so please do come and ask if you have any concerns. Thank you for your continued support of the scheme.


This article was taken from Issue 202 Autumn 2023 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.