Monday, June 23, 2008

Wood for Trees

a rotting tree “Beware those with good intentions”, goes the old saying. The Elf n’ safety lot are at it again, this time with trees.

“Homeowners could have to pay a specialist to regularly examine their garden trees, under proposals for a new safety standard which could lead to thousands being felled.” Reports the Telegraph. And just when Boris has agreed to plant a thousand more in London. One small step for Man, one giant leap backwards.

The Risk and Regulation Advisory Council, a watchdog established to challenge the "nanny state", said that the level of risk posed by trees did not warrant a national inspection regime. Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite said: "This is a perfect example of how the pressure to regulate to minimise public risk can lead to wholly undesirable outcomes if left unchallenged."

Mark Spencer [Curator, UK and European Herbariums, Department of Botany, Natural History Museum] writes:

"There is much to worry about here. For example, there seems to be no understanding of the importance of decay; thus, decay is described as "enzymatic alteration of wood by specialized fungi leading to a biodegradation of the load-bearing properties of affected trees and their constituent parts", this entirely fails to consider the importance/potential of decay in strengthening structures (hollow cylinders are stronger than solid ones - those with a finer understanding physics that I could explain this!) as well as the biodiversity benefits of hollowed out trees. I have requested a copy of the list of consultees but I have a very strong suspicion that there won't be much in the way of representation from the scientific & conservation community, I may be wrong. Please log on and add comments, it would appear that the BSI seriously needs information from those of us who actually know something about trees, other than the arboricultural community and the dreaded insurance/risk management industries."

Over to you Richard….


  1. I know! all pedestrians could be forced by law to wear protective helmets, so if a stray branch falls on your bonce, you are protected.

  2. Judith - don't say these things, not even in jest. Some elf ern saiftee jobsworth will read them and before you know it your joke will be law!

  3. It's all part of my (very) long-term plan to be Empress of The West; once everthing is suitably fixed in Brussels, I will be revealed as the Great Mastermind.

    Please keep this very confidential, however.

  4. Alan - would it not be cool to grow old and decay like a tree? Yep I did mean moi!
    Apart from most of the rest - it has always (at least since 1972 ish - that household insurance stipulated (in the small print) that: "All due care and attention should be paid to the growth, pruning treatment, and age of any tree that is in the boundary-line, one the premises which may interfere with by-standers, passers-by (pedestrian or motorised), vehicles, stock and pets kept in exterior structures (chickens, cavies, rabbits etc.) and awareness under this agreement includes accident by the tree (of whatever size) being struck by any outside interference, mechanical or animal. This cover does submit to any proven damage by 'Act of God' (storm, wind, landslip or flood).
    While there is no necessity to produce a certificate that all trees insured herewith, are inspected during every twelve-month period, there is a requirement that a bill of receipt is retained for inspection regarding any work undertaken on the trees so described.
    The company requires that if a tree is large, and is topped, pollarded or otherwise pruned to induce many new growths, then notification of such work and subsequent six-monthly checks of the trees must be notified to the company within ten (working days) of such work being undertaken; failing which will bring forfeiture of this policy....."
    get the Picture!
    Check your policy and watch out for the new regime of council staff running our streets - allegedly.