UKTC Archive

RE: 'Competent Person'

Subject: RE: 'Competent Person'
From: Abbatt, Ben
Date: Jun 02 2004 12:58:36
I thought it might be useful to seek clarification of the AA's / Nick's 
opinion "for the record":

This text below appeared on the UKTC recently, and as a highway authority I
was hoping that you may be able to confirm whether it is the Arb Assoc's
view that a competent person should be Tech Cert qualified. Also if that is
the Arb Assoc's opinion is it based upon case law? How was the opinion
determined. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Hi Ben

Our leaflet 'A Guide to Qualifications and Careers in Arboriculture' is the
basis for the statement I made to JFL, this in turn a result of fairly
informal but never the less informed consultation within the industry under
the leading of the AA's Education and Training Committee.  You can see the
leaflet on our website, see the Training Education and Careers page.  It is
not based on case law.

There are certainly many non-Tech Cert holders who are competent to inspect
trees (I made decisions on highway trees for years without the Tech Cert),
but if one had to prove competence (e.g. if a tree failed) the Tech Cert
would be a reasonable first line of defence.  One of 'my' trees killed
someone back in 1990 so I know what it's like to defend ones actions and
competence in the courts.  Put the boot on the other foot and ask yourself -
if you were acting for the prosecution in such a case wouldn't you ask why
the inspector was not qualified to at least Tech Cert?

I am aware that some authorities use highway inspectors to make a
preliminary inspection and more arb-aware officers to make more detailed
inspections or check trees the highway inspectors feel might warrant a more
informed decision.  It is my view that these Highway inspectors should have
some sort of training, but at what level, who knows!

Undoubtedly every circumstance will be different - but for inspectors making
the FINAL decision on whether a tree needs removal, remedial work or no work
then I consider that the Tech Cert is a good basis to start from.  Would be
glad to receive views from others...

-----Original Message-----
From: Julian Forbes-Laird []
Sent: 26 May 2004 12:02
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: RE: 'Competent Person'


I recently asked this question of the AA and was told (by Nick Eden) that
they advise AA Tech Cert as the minimum qualification.

This seems reasonable to me, as it represents not only a certain level of
relevant academic certification, but also because it requires a degree of
field experience.

Obviously other qualifications could apply, but as a benchmark this one
would seem appropriate.


Julian Forbes-Laird MICFor, Dip.Arb.(RFS)
Associate & Senior Consultant, CBA Trees
Registered Consultant of the Arboricultural Association

Please note that this posting is intended as an informal personal comment;
it is not designed to represent either CBA Trees policy or the author's
professional advice

-----Original Message-----
From: Mundie, Graham [] 
Sent: 26 May 2004 11:51
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: 'Competent Person'

Dear forum,

With no apparent definition in the Highways Act (or any other Act, to the
best of my knowledge) of what a 'competent person' is for tree inspections,
what is the perceived minimum level of competence to carry out basic health
& safety surveys?

Many thanks,

Graham Mundie
Tree & Grounds Management Officer
Hampshire County Council

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