UKTC Archive

RE: VALID Tree Risk-Benefit Management Plan

Subject: RE: VALID Tree Risk-Benefit Management Plan
From: David Bailey
Date: Dec 22 2017 13:12:55
Hi David,

No need to turn it up to 11. Remember that the English man shouting at the 
waiter in English when the waiter speaks no English, is still not understood! 

I'm sure in 99% of cases a drive by is fine and will spot evidence that will 
require a further look. I'm not arguing that.

This is your "level 1 inspection" which is clearly just a look at the tree, 
so that is all that is being done, no testing , hammers ropes, lazers or 
Klingons. Just a look, no need to go any further than that.

Some trees are not practically viewable from every angle or covered in ivy, 
I'm not arguing that either.

To take another analogy, think on this, and totally purge trees from your 

 I have been paid to assess if office equipment on my desk is working. It is 
a quick check just by looking at it, so no scribbling, testing the phone or 
switching the computer on. 

I'm looking at my calculator. It looks fine, all the buttons are in place 
screen looks good and no coffee stains. It looks Full Metal Jacket ready for 

However, I pick it up and on the rear, the battery door is open and there is 
now an AA rolling around on the desk. I suddenly have a very different 
opinion on the usability of the calculator.

I use this analogy to say looking at things requires looking at it from all 
possible and achievable angles.

Back in the real world... (fear not, my calculator is fine, I made that up) 

I was asked to look at a tree in a garden a few days ago and this really 
brought home to me the need to, where at all possible view a tree, from all 

It was a huge cherry 900mm diameter 20 metres high, grown in a woodland, 
hence its height. It had managed to be the canopy tree so had spread at least 
10 metres in all directions. It had a bit of ivy on it reaching perhaps 6 
metres up its clean stem. From 20 metres away, it appeared healthy, no 
epicorms, good stem taper and no apparent swelling at the base, although it 
was moderately obscured by ivy. Even 5 metres away the base looked OK.

Around the back was a cavity 800mm wide with masses of dead wood inside. 
Living wall were audibly thin for almost half of the diameter. In my mind, it 
didn't have long left and requires felling before next leaf break.

If we transported this tree to a road side, then I would imagine that a drive 
by would consider it fine as, at a large arc of viewing, no evidence of 
dysfunction would be seen. Hence why I think every tree, where practical 
should have a quick peak at every angle in 

So important things I want to say is this.

"Looking at thing requires looking from all possible or/and practical angles"

"If you are going to create a specification for looking at things, create the 
best one and allow people to justify a lesser one, should they need to, to 
ensure you are not held accountable should something go wrong"

Please believe that I'm not on some ego trip here, I just think that you need 
to make your documents as bomb proof as possible. I don’t think this is 
achievable by suggesting a drive by tree inspection is enough for a level 1 
"look" at a tree.

Finally, I agree the risk from trees is incredibly low, far less dangerous 
than driving around having a causal look at them. Tongue in cheek - best not 
labour that point for your own endeavours. 

However, I think them worthwhile and admirable

Best regards


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of David
Sent: 21 December 2017 07:03
To: UK Tree Care <>
Subject: RE: VALID Tree Risk-Benefit Management Plan

<<I wonder, given all the experience on the forum, who thinks that they have 
done a reasonable job of initially assessing trees for risk they pose to the 
general public by driving by them and not attempting to look at them from all 

Hi David

I'll give it another go, from another tack, and turn the volume up to 11 to 
see whether that helps.

By wanting to walk around the tree, you've clearly got a level of assessment 
that you're comfortable with and think that's the right thing to do.  But if 
you step back, there's no basis for saying that anything less is not 
'reasonable', or more importantly, 'proportional'.  That is, walking around 
the tree is doing the job properly and anything less is cutting corners.

For example, you say <<look at them from all angles?>> but you seem okay not 
applying that to branches or roots.  You're not climbing every tree, when we 
know the structural importance of wood loaded in tension on branches.  You're 
not testing the roots by a root collar excavation, or a Static Load Test when 
uprooting could result in the greatest consequences.  Why not do the job 
'more properly' and do these as well?

Even without climbing every tree, or root collar excavations, I could simply 
raise the bar of what is considered doing the job properly.  Say, I walk 
around a tree and tap every tree with a sounding hammer from the tips of my 
toes to the height I can reach at no more than 250mm intervals for 360 
degrees.  I use binoculars from 8 points of the compass, from the base of the 
tree, at half the height of the tree, and the height of the tree.  Even if 
this requires hopping over into a neighbours garden, or traffic control.  
Then I go back in winter if I was assessing a deciduous tree when it was in 
leaf.  Any less is cutting corners.

Of course I don't do this, but do you see what I'm getting at?  What you 
consider being a job properly done is a point in the level of assessment 
spectrum.  More or less could be done.  I can't see a basis for saying you 
have to walk all the way around the tree otherwise you're cutting corners and 
you've done a bad job.  Assessing a tree from one side, which you don't like, 
is not that much different to assessing a branch from one side, which you 
seem okay with.

<<If we keep cutting corners to fit the budget>>

I think you might have the wrong end of stick here, as has Julian in his 
post.  Doing a drive by is not cutting corners to 'fit the budget', it's a 
reasonable and proportional approach to assessing risk when you have a large 
population of trees.  Your coffers could be overflowing, but that does not 
mean you should be paying someone to walk around the back of every tree when 
we know the overall level of risk is so low, and that obvious defects are 
often so obvious they're picked up 'passively' by trained folk such as 
yourself without 'actively' looking for them.

I think you know this anyhow, but our role isn't to try and spot all 
'hazards' is it?  In your golf course example, there would be levels of 
Occupancy that would low enough that you're not going to have to actively 
assess the trees, or even walk around the back of any trees.


Acer ventura

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