UKTC Archive

Re: Tree Risk Communication

Subject: Re: Tree Risk Communication
From: Jerry Ross
Date: Aug 03 2020 08:02:10
Of course in the end, what one must also take into account when assessing the risk of taking a long drive is whether you're Dominic Cummings or not.

Be that as it may, I agree with you and Tim Harford. It's a useful risk comparison. But it's also useful to have these figures up your sleeve or on your hard drive. Wheelie bins causing more A&E referrals than incidents caused by trees is striking enough to perhaps help persuade a punter that their perfectly healthy tree is not dangerous simply because it's there.

(BTW, a gloss on 'numberwang' might be helpful of our readers not utterly familiar with old British TV comedy shows,...)

On 03/08/2020 08:12, David Evans wrote:
<<David, Chris got there some years ago with this:>>

Hi Jerry

I remember it well.  Chris' work here is great, but it's numberwang.

One of the lessons I've learned since he shared this is that many Arborists 
carrying out tree risk assessment really struggle with numberwang.  The 
public are even more hopeless with it.  I think the beauty of Tim Harford's 
200 miles round trip to stay with friends for a weekend is everyone can 
immediately understand what it is.  They don't have to wrestle with what x75 
more or less is, and whether that's a big or small number.  They wouldn't 
give accepting such a risk a second thought, or pay an additional cost to 
reduce the risk further.  It dilutes the chances of cognitive dissonance 
about a weekend trip v the tree risk because it's so easy to grasp.

One way I'd have thought it might be particularly useful is when an 
individual tree comes under pressure to be felled because of 'safety' 
concerns.  The kind of thing that appears in the local press, with a photo of 
those complaining crossing their arms.  Or it's a TPO appeal.  Use something 
like this  Choose a town that's about 100 miles away 
and lead with the question.  Would you accept the risk of driving to visit 
friends in 'Royston Vasey' for the weekend?  Well, the risk from this tree is 
less than that for a whole year.

Of, course it only works if the two risks can be compared and you can convert 
your tree risk into a micromort.  You can't do it with qualitative risk 
assessments ratings like High, Moderate, or Low.


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