Qualified Tree Surgeons – worth their weight in gold!


The most recent Arboriculture Association magazine explains the possible consequences of employing contractors who aren’t Qualified Tree Surgeons!

Earlier this year, a school in Buckinghamshire was fined £35,000 and had to pay costs of £25,000 on top of an ex gratia payment of £50,000 – that’s £110,000 in total, all because they employed someone who wasn’t a qualified tree surgeon, which resulted in a terrible accident leaving the man with permanent spinal injuries. Another contractor on site was given an 18 months prison sentence and had to pay £2,000 costs as he’d not produced a Risk Assessment, not ensured there was a safe system of work and not segregated members of the public safely from the work site.

For qualified tree surgeons, this is our ‘bread and butter’ stuff, the things that are automatically running through our minds when we very first come round to look at a job – whether it’s in a small, private garden or a large housing estate. Professional, experienced and qualified tree surgeons will recognise the tree species and will know what its inherent weak points are.

A qualified tree surgeon will take into account the fragile greenhouse and next-doors’ fence as well as your car on the driveway while they’re working out how to get rid of the brash to leave your property undamaged and tidy at the end of the job. They’ll notice that you’ve got a dog, children or grandchildren running round in the garden and make sure to tell you to keep them well out of the way when the work is being done.

They will have (and understand how to use) all of the most up-to-date equipment and methods to safely take a tree down to the ground, in pieces if necessary, without risking anyone’s safety.

Perhaps most importantly, they won’t knock on your door, tell you that your tree is unsafe and offer to do the work for cash, there and then!

If you’re thinking of having some tree work done, don’t take the risk of employing someone who says they can do the job cheap, find a company that can prove they employ qualified tree surgeons.

If you don’t know how to find a professional and qualified local contractor, you can check the Arboriculture Association’s Directory of Tree Surgeons. See our previous blog about Tree Heritage getting approval from the Arb Association here:  Arboricultural Association Approved!

If you want to go straight to the Arb Association’s website to find an approved Tree Surgeon in your area, click here:  Directory of Tree Surgeons

In order to illustrate the differences between professional, approved and qualified arborists and the type of people who say they can do work on your tree for a much cheaper price, I’ve included the following image from the Arboriculture Association’s website. Just to be clear, this is not a set-up for training purposes, this image is taken from a real-life situation!




No head injury protection (helmet)
No eyesight protection
No hearing protection
No fall protection (platform, rope and harness etc.)
No cut protection (chainsaw resistant trousers and boots)
No head injury protection (helmet)
No protection from traffic (high visibility clothing, road signing and traffic management)
Pedestrians and residents at risk of being hit by timber
Vehicles at risk of being hit by timber
Damage to fencing and other garden features
Damage to street infrastructure
Damage to a valuable tree

If you employ someone who works like this, your insurance company will not cover you if anything goes wrong – can you really afford to take the risk? Remember, qualified Tree Surgeons are worth their weight in gold!