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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.


LTOA carried out a survey of Plane trees in 2014 looking for Ceratocystis platani

On behalf of the Forestry Commission, the London Tree Officers' Association (LTOA) surveyed 2,979 London plane trees (Platanus x acerifolia) in 2014 for symptoms of C. platani. Inspections were undertaken at 53 sites across 28 London boroughs. More than half of the sites surveyed included potential hosts planted during the past 10 years, and the sites ranged in size from a minimum of 20 to, in some cases, more than 200 trees. No positive findings of C. platani were detected in any of the trees inspected.

For more information please see this link


Confirmed finding of oriental chestnut gall wasp

The tree pest oriental chestnut gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus) has been confirmed in sweet chestnut trees (Castanea sativa) in a woodland in Kent.


A Forestry Commission spokesperson said:

“The oriental chestnut gall wasp has been discovered in one area of Kent.

“This is a pest that only affects sweet chestnut (Castanea) species of tree, and does not pose any risk to people, pets or farm livestock.

“We have launched an immediate investigation of the surrounding woodland and, once we have fully assessed the situation, we will swiftly take any appropriate action.”

Key facts:

  • Oriental chestnut gall wasp is a pest that affects species of sweet chestnut tree. Only European sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) is grown in significant numbers in Britain, and no other tree species in Britain is affected.
  • The Forestry Commission is undertaking a full survey and analysis to determine the scale of the current outbreak and the potential cause of the outbreak.
  • Once we have fully assessed the situation, we will swiftly take any appropriate action.
  • Oriental chestnut gall wasp is a threat to sweet chestnuts in several regions of the world. It reduces nut production and can weaken the tree, leaving it vulnerable to other diseases.
  • The UK has Protected Zone Status against this pest, and the plant health services must be notified of all pending imports of sweet chestnut planting material before its arrival in the UK so that a proportion can be inspected.
  • As part of investigations into the outbreak, the new Observatree group of trained volunteers have agreed to help survey more widely for evidence of the pest.

A full statement has been published on our website at, and will be updated as the situation evolves. The affected woodland is Farningham Woods, near Sevenoaks, Kent.


The website should answer most questions you might have, but:


London Tree and Woodland Awards

On the 27th May 2015, London City Hall hosted a celebratory awards event to celebrate the work of individuals, communities and professionals to protect, improve and expand the capital’s tree and woodland cover.

Roger Evans (Deputy Mayor) and Ian Gambles (Forestry Commission England Director) attended the event and congratulated everyone in London for their hard work.

Andy Tipping with the London Borough of Barnet award Jonathan Robinson with his Trees & Technology award Jim Smith with his LTOA Individual Commitment award

LTOA members who won an award were:

Street Tree 2008-2015 Award:

London Borough of Barnet - A5 Edgware Road tree planting project.

The A5 Edgware Road tree planting project in Barnet involved the planting of 89 Dawn redwoods trees along a very busy road, having a transformative impact on the local environment and expected economic regeneration benefits.

The Trees and Technology Award:

Jonathan Robinson for his development of the Open Source Canopy Cover Audit application

For developing this innovative software in his own time. It is very simple and effective for users, to help understand the amount of canopy cover over a chosen area.

The London Tree Officers Association Individual Commitment Award:

Jim Smith

The LTOA Executive Committee awarded Jim for the years of hard work promoting Trees in London and for championing the important works that tree officers undertake.


Come rain or shine: LTOA at the London Assembly Environment Committee

Come rain or shineIn October 2014 the LTOA were invited to give evidence to the London Assembly Environment Committee in relation to a report about extreme weather events. We used the opportunity to highlight the fact that trees play a hugely important role in preparing London to cope with extreme weather events such as drought or flooding, and to make the point that whilst we are of course in favour of increased tree planting wherever possible, planting alone will not meet the targets to increase canopy cover so long as established trees are being removed. Essentially the message we tried to convey was that tree retention can be just as important as tree planting, even if it is not always so well reported.

The report has now been published, click here to view, and we are pleased to say that our comments have been included. On page 22 of Come rain or shine. London’s adaptation to the risks of severe weather (March 2015) it says:

“Trees have an important role to play. The Mayor has a target to increase London’s tree cover from a baseline of 20 per cent to 25 per cent by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2050; by 2025, he wishes for 2 million extra trees. The Mayor has several tree-planting programmes with targets of 10,000 to 20,000 trees each, which have so far led to the planting of more than 100,000 trees. Since this represents a relatively small proportion of the planned London-wide increase, progress will therefore have to be achieved mainly through other means.

New planting is only part of the solution. New trees take a long time to reach maturity and deliver their full benefits. Also in urban areas trees are often subject to removal or reduction for many reasons. A significant determinant of green infrastructure benefits in the short to medium term is the protection and well-being of existing trees and green spaces.”

The report also specifically sets out ten recommendations for the Mayor. Recommendation 6 is:

“The Mayor should demonstrate, with quantified contributions from different actions as in the Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy, how and where his green infrastructure goals (including for tree cover and river restoration) will be met. Among the contributing actions will need to be better protection and enhancement of existing green infrastructure. The Mayor, with local government, should agree and implement appropriate measures to secure this.”

The LTOA are specifically referenced as the origin of the comment on page 22, demonstrating that our attendance at Committee had real influence. We hope that this document will be of use to our Membership as a further tool to be used in situations where trees are threatened, and we hope that the next Mayor of London will take on board Recommendation 6.

Richard Edwards, Chair of the LTOA, said "our reps rightly and successfully highlighted the need to manage and protect the Urban Forest we already have as well as planting for the future".


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Become a Member

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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