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.
Please find here the formal London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) response to Defra’s consultation Protecting and enhancing England’s trees and woodlands.
The LTOA represents more than 150 tree officers and managers in London and beyond. This consultation response was produced by a working party set up exclusively for the purpose which is comprised of seven tree officers and managers, from inner and outer London, with a combined experience of public tree management of more than 110 years. It has been approved by the LTOA Executive Committee on behalf of the LTOA membership.
One of the principal roles of the tree officer is to protect and enhance the urban forest within their Local Authority for the benefit of their communities. They do this based on their knowledge, experience, qualifications and passion for trees. In recent years they have been subjected to the same pressures as other colleagues in the public sector – reduced numbers, budget cuts, loss of administration support and additional responsibilities.
Tree officers and communities should not be regarded as two groups in opposition to one another; tree officers are part of the communities in which they live and work. We all want to see the same thing – more trees in our urban environment, managed safely and responsibly for the benefit of all. Creating new statutory burdens for already overstretched tree officers is not the answer and will, ultimately, make the situation worse.
The full consultation document and Defra questionnaire can be found here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/
On December 4th 2018 the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) held a record-breaking quarterly seminar. These events always attract a substantial audience from across the arboricultural industry but never before has there been 113 attendees plus a waiting list. This just goes to show the quality of output that the LTOA is able to deliver to its membership and the fact that the organisation is moving from strength to strength.
The proposed ‘duty to consult’ in relation to street tree removal which was promised in the 2017 Conservative party manifesto was opened for consultation on 31 December 2018. The consultation period lasts until 28 February 2019.
These proposals should be regarded as one of the most significant issues that the tree officer community has ever been faced with; this is legislation which would directly impact the way in which tree officers do their work. The LTOA believes that each and every one of our members should participate in this consultation and ensure that their voice is heard.
The full document can be found here:
You should read the whole document for yourself but in summary the government is proposing four changes:
1. A duty to consult on the felling of street trees;
2. A duty to report tree felling and replanting;
3. Production of best practice guidance for local authorities to produce a tree strategy;
4. Giving the Forestry Commission more powers to tackle illegal tree felling.
Proposals one and two in particular would have a significant impact on tree officers. For the ‘duty to consult’ the Government’s preferred option is for a consultation on every tree proposed for felling during a four week consultation period, requiring a notice to be put on a tree, and letters sent to local residents in close proximity to the tree (a 100x100m area around the tree in question). If more than 50% of respondents disagree with the proposal, then a further consultation is triggered.
On Tuesday January 8th a stakeholder workshop was held in Birmingham by Defra which was attended by a wide range of representatives from across the arboricultural industry. Three members of the LTOA Executive Committee were in attendance including Chair Barbara Milne. The LTOA is ensuring that tree officers are being considered in this process but it is essential that as many of you as possible also get involved.
A small LTOA working party has been formed to review the consultation document on Wednesday 16 January in detail and produce a LTOA response. Once agreed by the Executive Committee this will be submitted to the government on behalf of the LTOA. We will also circulate the submission to the LTOA Membership so that you have the option to use it as the basis for your own response, should you want to. If you have any comments which you would like the working party to consider then please email Becky no later than close of play on Tuesday 15 January.
This is a matter of huge importance to all tree officers – please take the time to read the consultation document and respond accordingly.