What is an Arboriculturalist? Why Do I Need a Tree Survey?

The first in a series of posts I intend to put forward in a bid to demystify some aspects of engaging an arboricultural consultant and the work involved. From tree surveys, impact assessments and method statements to tree risk management.

A fairly regular occurrence in my line of work normally by family and friends are questions about what it is I do. Usually, the confusion is between the role of an arboricultural consultant and that of a tree surgeon. Often, like architecture, planning or any other specialist service outside of regular public exposure, you may not know what it is until you are in need of such services.

One might engage an arboricultural consultant to carry out tree surveys, either from a planning perspective or to manage risk. Tree surveys for development projects usually accompany planning applications to satisfy the local authority that a development or construction project can be delivered whilst minimising impact to trees. Typically surveys take the form of Arboricultural Impact Assessments and Method Statement  (AIA AMS). More detailed descriptions of arboriculture from a planning perspective will be covered in future posts.

Tree safety surveys are, by their definition focused on maintaining standards of safety. Typically carried out by clients seeking to fulfill their duty of care to those with access or members of the public who may be affected by defective trees. Tree safety surveying might be required by your insurer or something you may like to undertake prior to purchasing a property with mature trees. Tree risk management is a broad topic and applies to any scenario where defective trees are present and may present a risk. Further posts will explore example scenarios where tree safety surveying can be applied to plan and budget for tree management costs.

A brief description of the role at the Arboricultural Association website.

Mature Birch in proximity to overhead services and rural third party property. Tree safety surveying is advised in such scenarios.

Mature Birch in proximity to overhead services and rural third party property. Tree safety surveying is advised in such scenarios.