Treeworks Environmental Practice organised this landmark conference on behalf of the National Tree Safety Group (TSG), an inclusive association of stakeholders concerned with tree care, ownership, management and advice, formed with strong leadership from the Forestry Commission. Its intention is to develop an industry statement to guide all concerned.
The conference brought together a representative sample of some 300 people involved with trees. Speakers provided ten-minute presentations from the perspective of risk and tree professionals, governmental and non-governmental agencies, local authorities, the concerned citizen, the insurance industry, the legal sector and environmental science.
The key sessions focussed on what it means to be a stakeholder, balancing the benefits and enjoyment of trees with managing an acceptable level of risk. The structure of the conference allowed each speaker to make a statement from their respective stakeholder position. This brought out certain issues where, through clarification, debate and engaging an ever-widening group of stakeholders, there is potential for arriving at a national industry statement that will help the courts and assist managers, landowners and advisers to make risk management decisions for the benefit of a sustainable tree population.
At the end of each session a voting system was used to draw out particular threads relating to reasons for tree management and concerns associated with different sectors. This data will be considered by Prof. David Ball in a research project into the real and perceived aspects of tree risk, as a basis for informing future guidance for those involved in managing trees for public safety.
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