UKTC Archive

RE: your thoughts please [Scanned]

Subject: RE: your thoughts please [Scanned]
From: Liam McKarry
Date: Dec 18 2008 11:28:48
I'm trying to be positive here guys.

And I accept the fact that there's no such thing as a job for life anymore.

Ok so there is a 'recruitment freeze' at the moment but the reality is that 
those singular arb officers are likely to be in a good position - I doubt 
very much that a consultant could give the same level of service on the same 
range of subjects and provide a 24 hour call out service for the same money 
as an arb officers wage (low as it is in most cases). Not through any wish 
not too but purely on the availability of time and overhead costs associated 
with private consultancy.

I don't accept that trees are so low on the priorities list anymore. 
BS5837:2005 and National Tree Strategy have raised the profiles considerably 
within this borough. Also it is well documented within the press trees and 
vegetation are on the general publics 'radar' far more than ever before due 
to issues such as climate change etc.

And I certainly don't accept that tree related matters can be dealt with by 
planning officers - surely it's dicey ground given the legislation and best 
practice guidance. The subjective nature and the public awareness of trees 
causes all sorts of issues that most councils legal departments and planning 
committees get very itchy about.

Maybe I'm in a different position here but the planners, managers and policy 
makers do listen, they want to make things better. When the issue of 
redundancies and the reduced number of planning applications (Although TPO 
apps have doubled this year) was brought up I was advised by the head of 
service that the Arb officer job hadn't been considered at risk (obviously I 
take this with a pinch of salt as nothing is certain). 

When I ran a check on my planning app consultation log, whilst the planning 
apps have dropped by 30%+, the amount of consultations I've received has 
dropped by only 7% actually indicating that in a normal year (whatever that 
is) I would have had a greater amount of work.

Also worth bearing in mind is the cost saving that an arb officer gives when 
doing their own TPO resurvey - the average consultant will charge £50 - £75 
an hour (although I'm sure at this time a bulk rate reduction would be 
available) - given the actual number of 'older' orders out there, this slow 
down in planning apps gives the ideal opportunity to get some of that done 
whilst in effect saving the council some money into the bargain. Not to 
mention this is an ideal time to go out and proactively TPO more trees if 
needed - I know this has sometimes been a bit of a problem here with me being 
on my own.

Sorry this post goes on a bit but this economic blip isn't necessarily as 
damning as the press is making it out to be.

Liam McKarry

Arboricultural Planning Officer


Environmental & Protective Services

Colchester Borough Council

PO Box 889



Tel: 01206 XXXXXX (AM Only)


-----Original Message-----
From: Burke Nick (DEL) [] 
Sent: 18 December 2008 10:45
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: RE: your thoughts please [Scanned]

 'However, it should be borne in mind that the Town and Country Planning
Act says that the LPA has a duty to protect trees - that is a statutory
duty. Also as per trees in towns 2 all councils are recommended to have
a 'qualified arboriculturist' on staff to deal with tree issues.

Just another thought - whilst house prices blah, blah are dropping, the
prudent developer is still looking at sites and applying for planning
permission with the anticipation of developing when an upturn occurs.

Not to mention extensions and conservatories, oh and if in doubt the
beloved TPO resurvey is always there as a back up.....

Liam McKarry'

I know there are a number of councils out there who don't have any Arb
officers at all. Tree matters if they related to the TCP Act usually get
done by a planning officer or an outside consultant comes in for a
number of hours a week. And as you have said councils are 'recommended'
to have a qualified arboriculturist this doesn't mean they will have one
and with money getting tighter are unlikely to do so. Trees have always
seemed to be low on the priorities list. A number of councils have a
recruitment freeze on at the moment, I know we do, and its getting
noticeable in the decrease in jobs being advertised for TO's although
having said that adverts do tend to decrease at this time of year.

Nick Burke
Planning Officer - Arboriculture
Environmental Planning, 
Development Services
Sheffield City Council, 
Howden House
1 Union Street, 
S1 2SH



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