UKTC Archive

Chapman v LB Barking & Dagenham

Subject: Chapman v LB Barking & Dagenham
From: John Flannigan
Date: Dec 29 2003 09:33:42
I know this was all over and done some years ago now but I am reviewing our
risk assessments and the judgement is critical in this process.

Anyhow I was reading the summary of this case 

http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/1998/1200.ht
ml

from Chris Skellerns excellent www.aie.org.uk

and I am hoping that some of you out there with a greater knowledge of fungi
and bacteria can help with a specific query. A key part of the case appears
to hinge around the existence of bacteria on the stump and some staining
shown on pictures of the offending branch (the whole tree had been removed)
and the appeal judges said,

"Fortunately they left the stump, and it is common ground that (as the judge
found) the stump was diseased and the bacteria causing its decay were
active. "

I didn't think bacteria caused decay, just fungi. The following quote from
Dr Rose (who of course knows far more than me on this) illustrates the point

"The plaintiff's expert, Mr Rose, who (while giving evidence in his private
capacity) is the head of the Disease Diagnostic Advisory Service of the
Forestry Commission. He found that the cut surface of the stump showed an
area of stained wood consistent with incipient decay. He took two cores by
way of sample and those cores showed high populations of bacteria. Those
investigations satisfied Mr Rose first that the active bacteria indicated
that the decay had travelled down the tree rather than up from the roots,
and second that the presence of active bacteria showed that the bacteria
enjoyed a source of oxygen from a wound open to admit air higher up the
tree. In his opinion the indications were that the decay had come from the
area of the fork between the two main limbs of the tree left after the third
limb had fallen."

What does all this mean?

Happy new year everyone
John


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