Simon Richmond, Senior Technical Officer and member of the NTSG drafting group
Work on the second edition revision of the National Tree Safety Group’s (NTSG) guidance Common sense risk management of trees has continued to make progress this year, with a full public consultation for the proposed second edition soon to be launched.
An initial working draft of the revised guidance was produced in December 2020 and a consultation amongst the NTSG stakeholder organisations during January this year produced an extensive response, with hundreds of individual comments on the text as well as some significant general and policy commentary.The drafting group would like to thank all those who contributed to this consultation process, as it has identified significant and important areas for further consideration. The group has taken account of comments and suggestions received and painstakingly worked through them all, while seeking further clarification from some contributors.
It has been fascinating to observe the diversity of views and perspectives that such a broad stakeholder group represents, from local authorities to small and medium-sized businesses, large landowners, managers of public open space and private householders, professional arboriculturists and other advisors, including the Health and Safety Executive.
A second draft has now been sent to key stakeholders who raised important, substantive points of contention, to check that these have been adequately addressed, while maintaining the core values that the NTSG holds.
There remains a challenge that NTSG has always faced: to balance the recognised benefits that trees provide, locally, nationally and globally, with the potential for harm to arise from the structural failure of a tree, or part of a tree. Within the legal framework is a duty for those responsible for trees to take reasonable precautions to avoid such damage or injury.
The NTSG’s aim is that its guidance sets a balanced and proportionate approach to risks from trees, while highlighting the potential risks to trees from an overly litigious and risk-averse culture. Trees do need to be managed where there are likely to be risks to people and/or valuable property close by; as a society we may have to accept that trees in the later stages of their life, which are offering the highest benefits to heritage, ecology and biodiversity, will likely require higher levels of attention and support, rather than over-cautious removal.
Once comments on this draft have been received and processed, the document will be prepared for a full public consultation. It is anticipated that the second edition of the guidance will be published in the first half of 2022.
This article was taken from Issue 195 Winter 2021 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.