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.
The benefits that all of London’s trees provide have been given a monetary value in the London i-Tree Eco Project report published yesterday. The quantity of these benefits – such as air quality improvement and carbon storage – is the result of the world’s largest survey of a city region involving hundreds of trained volunteers.
Most people appreciate the beauty of London’s trees but may not know, or tend to take for granted, the benefits that London’s urban forest provides for both people and nature. The i-Tree report, sponsored by Unilever, gives us a much better understanding of the structure and value of London’s urban forest. It is a method that is recognised worldwide and enables comparison with other cities. The information produced enables us to make better plans to manage London’s trees and highlights the need for continued tree planting to increase tree canopy cover over London.
The survey found that:
The report highlights that there are a wide range of tree species - not just native trees but trees from around the world - that are suited to London conditions. However, at a more local level there are vulnerable landscapes that are currently reliant on one or two tree species, such as some parts of central London dominated by the iconic London plane. In order to reduce the risk of large numbers of trees being lost within a short time, planting of a wider species range is needed.
The report calls for everyone to recognise and support the multiple benefits that trees provide for London and to make their own contribution to protecting and enhancing London’s tree cover. This will help ensure that London continues to be a green city for future generations by planting trees in gardens, supporting tree planting by others, supporting organisations that promote and protect London’s trees.
Environment Minister, Rory Stewart, said: “Our trees and forests have long been central to British identity. But we are beginning to understand with even more precision, just how important they are to our air quality, our health and our happiness. This is a fantastic initiative. And it sits very well alongside our drive to plant an additional 11 million trees in this parliament, and to support green spaces across the country.”
Charlotte Carroll, Unilever UK Sustainability and Communications Director, commented: “The findings of this report provide clear evidence of the importance of trees in the fight against climate change and of their value to our society in helping to deliver a more sustainable future. At Unilever we're working on this important issue through our brightFuture movement and with the UN Climate Conference, COP21 in progress, now is the time to engage in the importance of trees in our everyday lives.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “London is one of the greenest, leafiest cities on the planet and as this survey proves, our canopy does a ‘tree mendous’ job of lowering pollution, alleviating flood water and boosting our environment.”
Craig Harrison, Forestry Commission London Manager said: “The i-Tree report shows some of the ways in which London’s trees enhance our daily lives, and many of the trees we enjoy today are the legacy of past tree planting. But London’s trees face challenges such as development pressures, climate change and disease. With the expected increase in London’s population the need for more trees will increase - so we need to protect existing trees and plant new trees - to ensure London remains an enjoyable place to live, work and visit”
London iTree survey - The report is available from:
The incident happened over 12 months ago in February 2014. A call came into the Parks department saying a resident was removing Council owned trees. My colleagues at the time attended (as I was on leave) and confronted the house owner; they then called the local park police. The police attended and arrested the house owner. The duty Sergeant then unarrested them. It was only when we pushed the police that they the charged the house owner again.
A few weeks later, I was asked to have a look at the trees again with regard to their value, as some of the trees had been so badly hacked, I made the assumption that they had full canopies prior to the event. The trees have started to regenerate but obviously lost their central leader, so as stated in court, their value was reduced. I was very conservative when calculating their value, this proved to be a good thing in court, as they could see I had not over egged the cake so to speak.
The defence had an expert witness - who concentrated mainly on the condition of a large Ash tree which had been reduced back in 2009. They also brought into the mix poor planning that allowed the property to be built in 2011, far too close to this tree to which I agreed, but was not my issue. There was a Daldinia growing on an old stump on the lower stem but this was irrelevant to the case, as was the Council’s inspection records which were also questioned. It has really highlighted to me the importance of a good and well recorded management system which we now have in place. Prior to this on an open site, such as allotments, we had risk assessments only.
At the beginning of the trial the defence Expert and I got together to produce a joint statement which helped the process and stopped a lot unnecessary hassle during the trial. The Judge was quite good at steering the barristers in getting to the real issue of criminal damage, rather that swaying the jury with misleading information on inspection schedules etc.
The defence was focused on the structural condition of the Ash and that the householder was concerned about the safety of his family - he said there was a hanging branch which he cleared; something that I said would have been dealt with by our term contractor on an emergency basis. It was obvious that there was far more removed than just a hanging branch. It was also pointed out that the accused used unskilled staff with no safety equipment which put them, him and others at high risk of harm.
In the dock, I was asked about the type of debris and why I believed that more than two branches had been remove from the large Ash. There was also question why we thought all the trees had been damaged at a similar time, freshness of cuts, poor quality, all done in haste etc
In the end it was a unanimous decision by the Jury which was a surprise. The whole thing was quite stressful at times, but a good experience. The lessons I will take away from this are improvements in recorded inspections and more time and detail in producing reports, when investigating criminal damage.
Stephen Lacey of the Telegraph attended the last LTOA seminar on 5 November 2015 about big trees and wrote the following article on 29 November 2015 mentioning two of our members Andy Tipping, Arboricultural Manager at LB Barnet with the Dawn Redwood avenue and Tom Campbell, Tree Officer at Hackney with the Tree Champions initiative.
Government approval has today been granted to two brand new Trailblazer apprenticeship standards which are set to benefit employers in the forestry and arboriculture sector.
The Arborist and Forest Operative apprenticeship standards were developed over the past 12 months through a comprehensive consultation and hundreds of hours of input from over 40 organisations, encompassing the full spectrum of the industries involved. They have now been approved at Westminster and lead the way in the government’s drive for apprenticeship reform in England.
Trailblazer apprenticeships are led by employers for employers and aim to ensure apprenticeships are tailored to the needs of industry. The standards list the key skills, knowledge and behaviours apprentices should achieve in order to complete their apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship programmes, based on these standards, will give employers the confidence that their apprentices will develop the skills they need to make meaningful contribution to their company.
Timothy Leavers of Euroforest Limited commented ‘The dual pathway forest operative standard provides specific training in the two main forestry disciplines of establishment and harvesting, allowing an employer to tailor their training to the company’s core business, and provide a clear focus for the apprentice.’
Simon Rotheram of Beechwood Trees and Landscapes Ltd added ‘We are pleased to see that the time and effort put in by a number of companies and individuals is coming to fruition, this hard work has formed an apprenticeship for arboriculture that will provide individuals with the training necessary to make them a useful asset to the industry and their employers...exciting times for the development of budding arborists are ahead.’
The final two standards, Horticulture & Landscape Operative plus Horticulture and Landscape Supervisor have recently been submitted into the government approvals process.
The next stage of the process has already commenced and assessment plans are being written for each occupation. These are employers’ opportunity to explain how to test the apprentice’s expertise. Draft plans were shared with 40 training and assessment providers during a meeting at the end of September. The valuable insights from this meeting will be discussed by the industries involved over the next two months and plans devised accordingly. It is hoped that delivery of the new apprenticeships will begin in the middle of next year.