UKTC Archive

RE: Hoyle v Hampshire County Council - Negligence Test

Subject: RE: Hoyle v Hampshire County Council - Negligence Test
From: Steve
Date: May 10 2022 11:13:13
Quick question does a large cavity in the main stem constitute a tree risk 
feature?

-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info On Behalf Of David | VALID
Sent: 10 May 2022 11:18
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
Subject: Hoyle v Hampshire County Council - Negligence Test

This is a new one for me, which I think is profoundly important.  From the 
recent Hoyle v Hampshire County Council Judgment in the UK:

<<Principal issues for determination

Para 32
(iii) was Mr. Soffe's/Mr. Power's VTA of tree 572 such that no competent Tree 
Inspector would have completed it in this way.

Para 114
.the Claimant must show that no responsible body of competent professional 
tree inspectors would have come to the conclusions and made the 
recommendations.

(Bolitho v City & Hackney Health Authority)>>

What this is saying is for the claim of negligence to stick, for an edge 
tree, with a natural lean and asymmetric crown, without noteworthy 
buttressing on the sheltered side, next to a ditch, to be considered anything 
other than normal features, NO competent Arborist would agree with this.

Or to put it another way. EVERY other competent Arborist would need to agree 
that an edge tree, with a lean and asymmetric crown, without noteworthy 
buttressing on the sheltered side, next to a ditch, are not normal features.
That they're a catalogue of 'obvious defects' that means you need to explore 
for roots on the sheltered side.

Warning
From here, it gets VALID, but you'll see why.

In VALID's Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategies, we define what Obvious 
Tree Risk Features we're looking for (the word 'defect' does not appear in 
any of the Strategies because it's a begging the question fallacy).  The 
Obvious Tree Risk Features Guide is a standalone free resource that's 
released under a creative commons license as part of our not-for-profit 
remit.  Anyone is welcome to use it.  You don't need to be trained or have 
adopted one of VALID's Strategies to benefit from it:

https://validtreerisk.help/Risk-Management

An edge tree, with a lean, asymmetric crown, lack of noteworthy buttressing 
on the sheltered side, next to a ditch has NO Obvious Tree Risk Features.
We've got a large and growing international group of Duty Holders, 
Validators, and Basic Validators ('responsible body of competent
professionals') who use our Obvious Tree Risk Features Guide in their 
Strategy.

We know Ivy (and other vegetation that obscures the stem) can cause 
particular concern amongst some Arborists who assess tree risk. They feel 
they have to remove this vegetation because of what risk feature it might 
hide.  We disagree, unless there's an Obvious Tree Risk Feature to trigger 
it's removal.  This example from the Government Agency Strategy describes how 
a Validator deals with this kind of vegetation when carrying out an Active 
Assessment at a Basic level.

"We won't remove climbing plants, undergrowth, basal epicormic growth, or cut 
hedgerows to get a closer look and carry out a Detailed Assessment unless 
there's an Obvious Tree Risk Feature.  It's only when we find a tree with an 
obvious risk feature that the costs of removing vegetation, and losing 
habitat benefits, are justified."

We've also got a large and growing international group of Duty Holders, 
Validators, and Basic Validators ('responsible body of competent
professionals') who manage and assess tree risk without unnecessarily 
removing vegetation.

No matter how many natural features are being labelled as 'obvious defects'
because they appeared in a recent Judgment, Inquest, or Enforcement, and 
added to tree inspection training programs and publications, VALID is happy 
to share a 'responsible body of competent professionals' that would take a 
very different view when it comes to managing and assessing tree risk.

Cheers

Acer Ventura




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The UKTC forum is supported by Bosky Trees arboricultural consultancy and
Stockholm Tree Pits
https://www.stockholmtreepits.co.uk