UKTC Archive

RE: Councils Carrying Out Tree Inspections on Private Land

Subject: RE: Councils Carrying Out Tree Inspections on Private Land
From: Howe, Ron
Date: Dec 21 2011 12:28:10
You know, I have never seen this option on a competitive basis, because,
as I have already said along with others we do not have the resources.
But, occasionally, people do ask if we can give an unbiased opinion on
the condition of their private tree and maybe put that in writing. We
have to say no and of course provide them with details of local
contractors and consultants. Invariably, nobody looks at the tree due to
the balance of costs etc. So, this is about non TPO trees that are not
in the public interest for us to deliberate on and certainly shouldn't
be done at public expense. However, we do occasionally, if passing, take
a look for people if only to belay fears thrown up by obnoxious
neighbours ... This is something we should be able to levy a small fee
for much in the same way we charge for High Hedge complaints, because
they, are private disputes and should not be dealt with at public
expense. Whereas I appreciate LA MOT bays are sitting idle us tree
officers most certainly are not!

Ron Howe
Principal Tree Officer
Mole Valley District Council
Tel. 01306 XXX XXX
Website -

-----Original Message-----
From: John Flannigan [] 
Sent: 20 December 2011 22:00
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: RE: Councils Carrying Out Tree Inspections on Private Land

It was with some interest that about a year ago I heard Eric Pickles
mention trees. This was a rare event - CLG actually acknowledging the
presence of urban trees. Anyway, my expectant wait for some sort of
strategic direction was dashed when along with getting Councils to MOT
cars he also suggested an idea for insurers, who required an annual tree
inspection of trees within a policyholder's premises, a tree inspection
service carried out by members of Council teams using their expertise
and equipment.

This appears to have fallen off the radar but I suspect the Local
Government Act and more recent changes to law would make it legal; even
if other issues make it impractical.


-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Lawson []
Sent: 20 December 2011 18:05
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: Councils Carrying Out Tree Inspections on Private Land

"The proposal is that we would carry out inspections on private trees,
for a fee and as long as the trees are not covered by any statutory

It would be wise to look at this matter across a range of issues:

*         Public Purse

*         Public Policy

*         Equitability

*         Conflicts of interest

*         Impacts

Local Government is funded through taxes paid for by all of us. Central
and local government funding delivers services at the local, regional
and national level. However a balanced economy requires a private sector
tax base that is in equilibrium with the requirements of government
spending and able to support the policy driven service and
infrastructure requirements of UK PLC.

That is currently not the case. Currently there is a very wide disparity
nationally which is at unsustainable levels in the regions. How does
charging (that is competing) with the private sector square with Central
Governments need to generate more private sector employment and taxes to
rebalance the regions crippled by a too large state infrastructure?

Charging out for technical services by Councils who provide a too costly
administrative, support, office and pension base suggests over capacity.
It is this over capacity which is making a return to growth so

The Council would effectively be subsidising a competitive market
against its own tax base - which I would suggest is suicidal.

The Council would be potentially harming local businesses, increasing
local unemployment and forcing skills away from its administrative area
by charging a fee to compete with its fee charging private sector, which
I would suggest is suicidal.

If there is the time for these surveys, for the web site and brochures,
for the administration and reports, templates and training, the
investigative hardware and software, then your have spare capacity. It
is not in the public interest, the public purse or policy to seek to
harm the private sector by subsidised competitive effort.

It is hardly equitable to seek to compete against SMEs and small traders
without the subsidy, with overdrafts, mortgages, supplier creditors,
crown creditors and long debtor days.

Equally the individual officer will inevitably become embroiled in real
conflicts of interest, interests over land, advice, professional
standing, report recommendations.

Lets start simply, by charging a fee you owe a direct and immediate duty
of care to the client recipient. You will also make your Council
sufficiently contractually "proximate" to allow a whole raft of
liabilities that you can currently avoid drop into the Councils in-box.

Customers will need to have copies of terms and conditions prior to
appointment, your report will be for their use alone, the information
you generated could not and must not be used to disadvantage your
client. There would be issues of professional indemnity, employers
liability, of complaints and insurance issues of a general kind should a
tree fail.

You will become at risk of entrapment and of risks of allegations of

There would be so many negative impacts, impacts on impartiality and a
general failing of the esteem in which local officials are often held,
impacts on the nature and extent of the private sector, impacts on the
tax base, impacts on complaint levels to Councils, impacts on the UKs

However the central point for me is, if you can afford to look at this
you are over-manned. Think about it another way, are you willing to be
spun out as an arm's length consultancy with a 2 year contract which
will then be freshly procured, are you confident your service would
retain the loyalty of the LA, ask the RSLs the same question.

Michael Lawson
Managing Director

Landscape Planning Group Ltd
Arboriculture . Ecology . Landscape . Forestry

4 The Courtyards
Phoenix Square
Severalls Park

T: 01206 XXXXXX
F: 01206 XXXXXX
M: 07786 XXXXXX

Skype: Michael.Lawson23<

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