UKTC Archive

RE: RE: VALID Tree Risk-Benefit Management Plan

Subject: RE: RE: VALID Tree Risk-Benefit Management Plan
From: Philip Wilson
Date: Dec 22 2017 17:15:14
Thanks David.
In support of a continuum of detail/cost in tree inspection it might be 
helpful to bear in mind the common-sense observation that some trees don't 
need to be inspected at all - detail/cost is zero. So, according to 
circumstances, how could one object to any amount of detail/cost no matter 
how small! According to that reasoning even TRAQ's 'fly-by' inspection is 
unsurprising, and back in the UK you'll recall Julian F-L telling us about 
his Network Rail protocol involving aerial photos in the first instance.

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of David
Sent: 22 December 2017 16:56
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: RE: RE: VALID Tree Risk-Benefit Management Plan

<<Would it not be true to say that the courts can be quite uncompromising 
when it comes to tree inspection frequency/standard? Could they conceivably 
take the view that actually there is an acceptable threshold to satisfy the 
duty of care? Perhaps there's no satisfactory answer - but accepting that 
wouldn't be quite the same as dismissing the question.>>

Hi Philip

There's quite a bit of activity to catch up on, and I think Paul Muir's 
answered it really.  I'm not dismissing the question.  It's just that part of 
what Julian says about ivy and inspection not having been resolved has been 
as far as I'm concerned, and it's a wrong answer to a wrong question.

Regarding court cases.  I posted something like this in a another message.

I'm not concerned about previous tree-related court cases because they are 
judgments of the 'first instance'.  The judgments turn on the experts and 
evidence presented in that particular case.  For all their wisdom, the Judge 
can only make a judgment on the evidence available.  Sometimes that evidence 
can be driven by hindsight risk assessment bias in the absence of a risk 
Policy or Plan.  I think we're witness to some that conditioning in the 
debate here.

Part of the reason I thought it worthwhile investing a lot of time and effort 
with the VALID 'Policy' and 'Plan', is that in the unlikely event of a risk 
being realised, then the rules of engagement are clearly set out by the tree 
owner/manager, and they can't simply be ignored in pursuit of victory by the 
claimant.  Ultimately, it will be the court that decides, but it will up to 
the claimants to demonstrate that the 'Policy' and 'Plan' were not 
reasonable.  Or that the assessment within those parameters was negligent.  
Which is why the points in the previous posts about the parameters of the 
assessment are particularly important.  A tree/owner manager is not being 
negligent because they don't spend money preparing the ground to be free 
climbers and undergrowth, so arborists can walk all the way around every tree.

As for inspection frequency and standard.  Given the overall extremely low 
level of risk from tree failure to the public safety, I think there's a 
really strong case to be made for not wasting resources on VALID's proposed 
'Active - Basic' assessment (I've dropped the level numbers but it was Level 
1) in the Plan.  Or any pro-active or formal inspection regime.  And instead, 
simply have 'Passive Assessments' that trigger 'Active - Detailed 
Assessments' when an obvious defect is identified that could mean the risk 
might not be acceptable.

Perhaps the most important expert witness in a future tree related case won't 
be an arborist, but someone like Professor David Ball of DARM.


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