Saturday, July 23, 2016
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The LTOA - Caring for the Capital's Trees

Welcome to the LTOA website. The London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) constitutes the professional & technical voice for London's trees & woodlands. Its aim is to enhance the management of the Capital's trees. We hope that you find the LTOA website both interesting & informative. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


First LTOA field trip to Europe

In June the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) organised their first field trip overseas to Malmö in Sweden. Made up of 15 delegates a mix of both Tree Officers and Associate members.

The first day of the trip was to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Alnarp, led by Henrik Sjoman, lecturer at SLU and Scientific Curator at Gothenburg Botanic Garden, a man of huge enthusiasm and passion.

The day started with an indoor session where Henrik explained his works followed by a tour of the grounds of the University. The Alnarp landscape laboratory is a site where trees and theories are tested on a 1:1 scale. Trees cannot be considered as just green ‘fluff, we have known for years that trees offer the best eco-system services. We now need further research as to which tree species offer the best eco-system services.

Tree selection is the most important factor above design. If we continue to plant the wrong trees the importance of trees will lose focus. We need carry out research so that we have the confidence to use unfamiliar tree species in our street tree planting rather than sticking with the traditional favourites.

Some of Henrik’s research work has been looking at the tolerance of tree species to drought which he amusingly entitles “shut-up & die”. Along with other research “pimp my woodlands, bling my backyard” looking at the sustainability of woodlands using non-native species. Henrik is firmly of the opinion that in order for woodlands to be sustainable in the future, we need to introduce exotic species, however, before doing so we need to know how they will grow and interact with the woodland.

The afternoon session was a visit to the Chinese Forest and Magnolia Forest planted in the grounds and looking his research plants, grown with support from the Swedish nursery industry looking at species for future planting.

Day two was hosted by Tim Delshammar, Landscape Manager for Malmö City Council, and began with Al Smith, Camden Council Arboricultural Manager delivering a presentation to 30 of Tim’s colleagues from Malmö City Council on policies relating to trees in London and the London Borough of Camden’s Tree Policy. This was followed by Tim outlining the process they are undertaking to introduce a tree policy for Malmö City. It was not surprising to see the similarity between the issues faced in both Sweden and the UK.

The LTOA delegates then took to bikes, thankfully led and flanked by Tim and his colleagues, looking at sites which included the protection of a large beech tree whilst the water table was lowered during the construction of an underground railway station. Planting and re-landscaping of the borders of King’s Park and a major landscaping project at Live Malmö.

Comments from delegates such as “Really informative, interesting and enjoyable” the LTOA are looking to run a similar event next year.


LTOA seminar on trees, air pollution and heat island effect

The London Tree Officers Association is holding a seminar on morning of Monday 18 July at Kings Cross, London looking at trees, air quality and the heat island effect.

The speakers will be Professor Rob Mackenzie, Director, Birmingham Institute of Forest Research talking about air quality and urban form: the role of trees and the urban forest and Professor Rohinton Emmanuel, Director of the BEAM Research Centre, Glasgow Caledonian university talking about heat islands, urban form and the green infrastructure: thermal comfort and energy implications.

Air quality in London has been front page national news on several occasions in recent weeks. Temperatures over the first four months of 2016 indicate that the year will globally be the hottest on record – just as 2015, 2014 and 2013, were before it. The role of trees in mitigation of and adaption to climate change is more generally recognised daily – the odd pseudoscience put down of trees as polluters notwithstanding.

At least two London borough Tree Officer Teams, using the LTOA designed OSCCA and the i-Tree Canopy tool have determined the percentages of canopy cover under their control – and by implication, the limits to what they can achieve directly in increasing canopy by planting.

The LTOA has its own Trees and Health working party and is working with other partners on how to turn the many initiatives on trees and health into practical projects which can benefit London’s air – and at the same time fulfil the host of other roles that trees have in our general wellbeing.  It is a general presumption that it is Local Government which will deliver the bold increases in tree canopy and green infrastructure which are required, but ironically seldom recognised that it is a healthy population of tree officers that holds the detailed experience and knowledge keys to deliver.

The LTOA Working party have collected a range of references on trees, health and wellbeing, which will soon be posted on the website. W​e look forward to contributions on what our members are achieving in this arena spreading the word and deed.  We need to build on the growing realisation that trees have an enormous benefit to public health.

Dave Lofthouse

LTOA Exec and Trees and Health Working Party



LTOA elect new Executive Committee

The London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) has announced the election of a new Executive Committee to head up the association for the next two years. The Executive Committee was elected by the members of the LTOA and will continue to promote urban forestry and represent tree officers in London and beyond. For full details of the LTOA and short biographies of the Executive Committee please visit

The new Chair of the Executive Committee is John Parker (Transport for London) and the Vice Chair is Barbara Milne (City of Westminster). The other members of the Committee are Andy Tipping (Barnet), Clare Pappalardo (Haringey), Colleen O’Sullivan (Camden), Craig Ruddick (Richmond), Dave Lofthouse (Merton), Gary Meadowcroft (Southwark), Jake Tibbetts (Islington), Lawrence Usherwood (Brent), Oliver Stutter (Southwark) and Richard Edwards (Croydon).

John Parker, new Chair of the LTOA, said “I believe that a healthy population of urban trees is best achieved through a healthy population of urban tree officers. Over the next two years the Executive Committee will continue to ensure that the LTOA provides representation and support to our members and to tree officers everywhere. We will continue to offer high-quality professional publications and seminars and will also seek to build stronger relationships across the UK and internationally, particularly with our friends and colleagues in Europe.”

For more information please contact Becky Porter, Executive Officer on 07771 976238 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit


Booking Opens for National Tree Officers Conference 2016

Booking Opens for National Tree Officers Conference 2016

Booking has opened for the 2016 National Tree Officers Conference, which takes place on 9 November in Telford. This is the first event organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA), and facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF). The conference offers a unique knowledge-sharing forum on all areas of local authority arboricultural work.

A top-class programme of arboricultural and urban forestry speakers will cover topics including:

  • Canopy cover targets in planning policy
  • Council tree contract models
  • Tree health threats, including Acute Oak Decline
  • Community engagement and volunteer management
  • The future of local authority tree services

This event is an invaluable occasion for tree officers to learn from their colleagues on the latest research, best practice and innovation in this sector. John Parker, Chair of the LTOA, commented:

“Tree officers all over the UK are doing similar jobs and facing similar challenges, whether working in the north or the south of the country or in urban or rural environments. The first National Tree Officers Conference will provide a fantastic platform for tree officers everywhere to get together to discuss best practice and share experience and ideas whilst enjoying a great programme of talks relating to arboriculture and the urban forest. In the current political climate I believe it is more important than ever for us as an industry to communicate and collaborate, to support each other and work more closely, and to build stronger connections across the UK and internationally. This conference will give us the perfect opportunity to do so, and the LTOA is delighted to be working on the event with our colleagues in the MTOA and ICF.”

Russell Horsey MICFor, Development Director at the Institute of Chartered Foresters said:

“ICF is excited to be working in partnership with the MTOA and LTOA on what we hope will be the first of many conferences aimed at helping local authority officers. The Institute recognises the continued downward push on budgets and staffing within local authorities and the strain this is putting on teams working with trees and within the natural environment sector. This first conference has been designed to look at practical examples of how some local authorities are addressing these challenges, and we hope that attendees will be able to take ideas presented for use in their day to day work. We also hope that the day will act as a focal point for officers to network and problem-share with colleagues and hopefully find easy answers to help.”

Matthew Seabrook, MTOA Chairman, further discussed the significance of the event, in light of current issues facing tree officers:

“The MTOA are proud to support and jointly represent this inaugural conference which is predominantly aimed towards tree officers and urban foresters. In times of austerity and budget cuts we look to share ideas and explore opportunities to deliver a service that is within our respective budgets and retains our legally defensible positions.

“We hope to raise awareness, provoke thought and discussion to highlight the problems we all currently face - where do we go from here and how do we get there? It is hoped that this will be the first of many conferences of its kind and we look forward to support and attendance at what will be an eye opening and encouraging day.”

This event is kindly sponsored by Barcham Trees, Buxtons Ltd, Ezytreev, GreenBlue Urban and KBI UK. Booking information is available at:


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Sponsored by Barcham Trees

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Join the LTOA

Members can attend, for free, the the LTOA meetings which are held four times a year and cover a wide range of tree related matters. Click here to find out how to become an associate member


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