Are You Regular?

The Spring 2018 MTOA Meeting

When and where? 31st January, The Visitor Centre, Telford Park.

It is most certainly one of the issues for tree managers in these austere times, how often can I or should I inspect my trees?

At this seminar you will hear from a range of speakers on how they manage these demands and moreover, why. From legal precedent to legally defensible, are you regular enough?

Many MTOA’ers will have seen Greg and John at the NTOC and they were stand out speakers but these presentations build on the theme of the day. Richard represented the claimant in the Kavanagh case and has some very interesting perspectives into this case, worth the trip on its own. Simon will talk about the work volunteers can do to support the tree officers in building defensible regimes

All this for only £25.00, yes £25.00 for MTOA members. Non- members £75 (dependant on space availability) and it includes lunch! It is bookable in advance by contacting Jean McDermott on 0121 556 8302,  or

MTOA 2017 AGM: 6th September 2017, The MAC, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH

Do you want to improve your Likelihood of Failure tree risk assessment skills? Come along and learn how to make credible, consistent, and calibrated decisions at ‘Likelihood of Failure Club’. This highly interactive, hands-on training shines the spotlight on what is often the most subjective, uncertain, and challenging part of a tree risk assessment. ‘What is the Likelihood of Failure?’

 The itinerary for the day is;

 10.00 – 10.30        Registration, tea and coffee

10.30 – 10.40        Matt Seabrooke (outgoing Chair) – Introduction to the day & MTOA News.

10.40 – 11.40         David Evans: intro to VALID

11.40 –11.50          Comfort Break

11.50 – 12.20        David Evans: the details!

12.30 – 13.15        The AGM!!! Including for discussion of the National Tree Officers “Federation” and the potential introduction of fees!

13.15 – 14.00         Lunch

14.00 – 16.00         Outside calibration session with David

16.00                    Q&A and finish

Many MTOA’ers will know that Dave Evans is a great speaker and it has been too long since he was last at one of our meetings. No doubt many will have followed the evolution of the new VALID system and this meeting is a great opportunity to get to understand what will no doubt be a big impact on our risk evaluations in coming years.

All this for only £20.00, yes £20.00 for MTOA members. Non- members £65 (dependant on space availability), bookable in advance by contacting Jean McDermott on 0121 556 8302,

48 hrs to Deadline for Abstracts(5pm 12.05.17)

Do you have an idea or have been thinking and working ‘outside the box’ in your Tree Officer role? We’d all like to hear about it, and here’s your chance. Let us know, we’re all in the same boat!

National Tree Officer Conference 2017 – Call for Papers




National Tree Officers Conference 2017 – Call for Papers Now Open


After last year’s success of the inaugural first National Tree Officers Conference it returns in 2017. The conference is being organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers’ Association (MTOA) and is facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF). This is a great opportunity for tree/woodland/planning officers to present their latest research, best practice and innovation in different areas of local authority arboricultural work.

The conference will be held on Wednesday the 8th November 2017, at the Oakengates Theatre, Limes Road, Telford, TF2 6EP (

The submission period for abstracts to be presented at the conference is now open and it will close on Friday 12th May 2017 at 17:00hrs.

Abstracts, up to a maximum of 500 words and will be considered on a wide range of subjects that are relevant to the remit of a tree/woodland/planning officer. (Abstracts will only be considered from local government – employed tree officers and woodland officers.) Presentation sessions will be between 20 – 40 minutes; please specify the length of your presentation will be when making your submission.

For guidance, the following subject headings are suggested:

  • Tree strategies/policy/tree database innovation
  • Biosecurity
  • Planning
  • Tree risk management
  • Case studies – tree projects and or best practice
  • Tree related planning and enforcement case studies
  • Raising the profile of trees with the local government setting/working effectively with politicians
  • Tree planting
  • Working well with the public/tree groups/forums/friends of groups

Abstracts will be reviewed by a selection committee and selection will be based on overall quality, appropriateness, focus and the practical nature of material and appeal to a tree officer audience. Additional subjects (not listed) may be considered, following review by the selection committee.

Conference bookings will open later in the year at

We look forward to seeing you at the conference, and receiving a wide range of abstracts.

Submissions by email to: Becky Porter, London Tree Officers Association

Press Enquiries:

 Hester McQueen

Marketing & Communications Officer Institute of Chartered Foresters 59 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2JG Email:

Tel: +44 (0)131 240 1425

Booking Opens for National Tree Officers Conference 2016

Booking has opened for the 2016 National Tree Officers Conference, which takes place on 9 November in Telford. This is the first event organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA), and facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF). The conference offers a unique knowledge-sharing forum on all areas of local authority arboricultural work.

A top-class programme of arboricultural and urban forestry speakers will cover topics including:

– Canopy cover targets in planning policy
– Council tree contract models
– Tree health threats, including Acute Oak Decline
– Community engagement and volunteer management
– The future of local authority tree services

This event is an invaluable occasion for tree officers to learn from their colleagues on the latest research, best practice and innovation in this sector. John Parker, Chair of the LTOA, commented:

“Tree officers all over the UK are doing similar jobs and facing similar challenges, whether working in the north or the south of the country or in urban or rural environments. The first National Tree Officers Conference will provide a fantastic platform for tree officers everywhere to get together to discuss best practice and share experience and ideas whilst enjoying a great programme of talks relating to arboriculture and the urban forest. In the current political climate I believe it is more important than ever for us as an industry to communicate and collaborate, to support each other and work more closely, and to build stronger connections across the UK and internationally. This conference will give us the perfect opportunity to do so, and the LTOA is delighted to be working on the event with our colleagues in the MTOA and ICF.”

Russell Horsey MICFor, Development Director at the Institute of Chartered Foresters said:

“ICF is excited to be working in partnership with the MTOA and LTOA on what we hope will be the first of many conferences aimed at helping local authority officers. The Institute recognises the continued downward push on budgets and staffing within local authorities and the strain this is putting on teams working with trees and within the natural environment sector. This first conference has been designed to look at practical examples of how some local authorities are addressing these challenges, and we hope that attendees will be able to take ideas presented for use in their day to day work. We also hope that the day will act as a focal point for officers to network and problem-share with colleagues and hopefully find easy answers to help.”

Matthew Seabrook, MTOA Chairman, further discussed the significance of the event, in light of current issues facing tree officers:

“The MTOA are proud to support and jointly represent this inaugural conference which is predominantly aimed towards tree officers and urban foresters. In times of austerity and budget cuts we look to share ideas and explore opportunities to deliver a service that is within our respective budgets and retains our legally defensible positions.

“We hope to raise awareness, provoke thought and discussion to highlight the problems we all currently face – where do we go from here and how do we get there? It is hoped that this will be the first of many conferences of its kind and we look forward to support and attendance at what will be an eye opening and encouraging day.”

This event is kindly sponsored by Barcham Trees, Buxtons Ltd, Ezytreev, GreenBlue Urban and KBI UK. Booking information is available at:

2017 Tree Inspection Workshops with Frank Rinn

After the huge success of the 2016 workshops MTOA are pleased to announce more dates for 2017

These are hands-on class’s so delegate numbers are limited.

When: 27th and 28th September 2017

Where: Midland Arts Centre, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham


  • How can you tell if a tree is safe?
  • Do you want to make better tree assessments, increase your knowledge of tree biomechanics, wood decay and diagnostic tools?
  • Is increasing the precision and accuracy of your inspections and reports important?

Back-to-back workshops with Frank Rinn, inventor of the RESISTOGRAPH and Tomograph and world famous instructor on tree inspection can help you to be a better municipal arborist.

MTOA is bringing Frank Rinn in from Heidelberg, Germany just for these advanced workshops. Classroom topics will include: wood anatomy, tree biomechanics, the effects of pruning and cabling, and possibilities and limitations of technical inspection methods. Outdoor hands-on field time with Frank and his assistants will include: resistance drilling, sonic tomography and sonic root plate assessment.

Added Bonus:

Everyone registering the Day 1 Tree Safety Workshop will receive an ArboMech-software licence (WIN, ANDROID, or MacOSX). This software allows to determine how strong a cross-section is weakened by a defect and this can be done on a PC/Notebook, tablet, or smartphone (at the tree).

Everyone registering for the Day 2 Advanced Tree Safety Workshop will receive an ArWiLo-software licence (WIN, ANDROID, or MacOSX). This software allows to determine the impact of pruning on wind-load reduction and this can be done on a PC/Notebook, tablet, or smartphone (at the tree).

Registration Fees:
Day 1: £85 MTOA members (£135 non-member)
Day 2: £85 MTOA members (£135 non-member)
Both Days: £150 MTOA members (£225 non-member)
(Seven day cancellation policy)


Contact the MTOA office to register your place now, these will sell out early. 

Free Forestry Safety and Health Awareness Day – Get Involved!!


Free Forestry Safety and Health Awareness Day

Friday 18 March 2016 – Central Scotland, Battleby, Perthshire

Tuesday 22 March 2016 – Northern England, Kielder Castle, Northumberland




HSE has again teamed up with the Forestry Commission’s Learning and Development team to host the events, which are dedicated to raising awareness of important health and safety issues specific to the forestry industry. Attendance on the day is free.

The events are supported by the Forest Industry Safety Accord (FISA) and HSE gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from Egger Forestry, Euroforest, Scottish Woodlands and Tilhill Forestry.

Developed in partnership with the industry, all those involved in forest operations should benefit from the half-day event, from forestry work managers to site supervisors, to those actually carrying out the work.

Trainers who have years of experience working in forestry will cover issues relating to the use of forestry machinery and forestry chainsaw work, directional felling including the use of hydraulic wedges and bottle jacks, hand-arm and whole body vibration, and public access issues.

At the events, scenarios are acted out based on situations that have led to serious accidents in the past. Risks are examined and common sense solutions are identified that can be applied on site.

Each event is developed to reflect the type of forestry work taking place in that geographical area.

Attendance at the event is by booking only. For further information or to book places please contact Jack MacGregor at HSE by emailing or telephoning 01463 723273 (indicating whether you wish to attend the morning or afternoon session). Applications will be confirmed upon receipt.

Please feel free to forward this bulletin to other forestry businesses that you think would be interested in attending.

Felling a TPO’d Yew – Appeal Lost- Grandchildren might Eat Berries..!!

Here at Telford and Wrekin Council we have just heard the results of an appeal against the Council to permit the felling of a TPO’d Yew tree in a private garden based purely on the fact that the grandchildren might eat the berries that fall and the foliage.

Following various refusals to fell (no applications ever submitted to prune or manage the tree in any way)this tree it eventually ended up at the appeal stage where it was claimed that the grand parents had to contunually monitor that grand children because they could not be left alone with this tree in the garden.

The ramifications of this decision may well be far reaching, must we now fell all Yew trees in public open spaces, does this include trees within church yards- open or closed and are all Yew tree owners wide open to prosecution from the general public if their tree or parts thereof are found to be the cause of illness, distress or concern.

Some of the Yew trees we have in our respective landscapes exceed a 1000 years old and are the stuff of legend. There is a nationally recorded database of the oldest Yews we have in the country. These trees are considered by most to be one of the jewels in the crown of our native tree collection and yet we appear to be now faced with a barrage of claims or applications to fell these trees based on a single misconception.

Is there an appeals process the Council can now follow to put right this wrong?