My tenth anniversary

I have been looking back at previous posts and it has been interesting how a lot of the foundations for my current purple patch were laid five years ago:

  • the locum work for one local planning authority has continued, and I have added another
  • I still enjoy the role of retained advisor at a nearby school
  • I am still invited to write for ProARB
  • relationships with valued clients have blossomed, and I have been able to attract new clients

As many people suddenly found themselves at home my professional experience of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has been positive (privately not so great it must be said), and I have been fully occupied as both an arboricultural consultant and as the Tree Officer.   Instructions in the past year were primarily for either development site work or duty of care tree surveys.   To address the development site work I have been looking at how to provide a useful response to the request for an arboricultural report, and it’s not been straightforward!  

The BS 5837 report remains one of the easiest to commission yet the hardest to write – it’s simple enough to ask for a professional report to the requirements of the standard but what does that actually mean?   Few clients seem to understand the iterative nature of tree consultancy, or the various steps involved and how they may be separated by months or even years, even though they accept that architects’ and developers go through the same evolutionary approach before they finalise their plans.   Another difficulty for the consultant is that some of the custodians assume that the Standard is gospel, and if it says a tree has an RPA of 6m then the tree actually has an RPA of 6m.   How often have you found that to be true I wonder?

When I am asked for an initial site survey as well as an arboricultural method statement in the same enquiry I try to explain the difficulties: for some small projects it can work, but for larger schemes that is simply unrealistic as so much can change from the initial layout to the finally agreed and approved scheme and so my offer maybe split into two distinct products.

When drafting my report I find that I use a similar format but that a simple template does not actually provide my client with the information they need to answer the question that they have been posed, a problem I see when wearing the Tree Officer hat is that some writers change very few words in their standard offering and I do wonder whether they are actually serving their client in the best way?

And how does one assess the impact of a development?   I have taken encouragement and advice from ecologists in this area, the use of metrics in arboricultural training is not as well developed as it is for a student of ecology as far as I can see.   Have I got it right?   I doubt it but I will keep on trying.

I will continue to offer the benefit of my considerable experience with a report that can be read and understood and, as ever, with each passing year I hope my product improves.

If you think that I can help with your enquiry please don’t hesitate to make contact, thank you.

Contact me on

07501 059 566 or

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