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We would like to wish all of our members a very happy and prosperous New Year and hope that everyone was able to have a good break and recharge the batteries for 2013. Towards the end of 2012 with the increased media coverage in relation to trees and particularly ash dieback it is important that as a tree care profession we now embrace this in a positive manner in order that trees and their management are in the news for the right reasons through 2013.

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Karen Martin, Chief Executive of the Arboricultural Association

Message from CEO Karen Martin

Happy New Year! Two months into my position and I am starting to get to meet more of our members and partnering organisations. Thank you to those of you I have met for your patience and support; I look forward to meeting more of you during 2013.

To think this time last year I was busy packing my bags to travel to Bangladesh for six months and wondering how on earth I could manage with just 25 kilos of luggage when my first aid kit and trekking equipment weighed so much! Now my biggest physical challenge is how to get through the flooded lanes around Upton and make it to work.

As expected, my first two months have been incredibly busy but also really interesting as I have worked with the team and others to understand our operation and systems and determine an operational strategy and budget for 2013. Included in this is a plan to get closer to our members, i.e. you, and understand your needs and ideas. To this end we plan to conduct online surveys later in the year. Watch this space!!

Over the Christmas period a group of 19 Registered Consultants and the AA wrote to the press and Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. You may have seen the letter in the letters section of any one of a number of newspapers. I have reproduced it below.

At the end of 2012 a small group of Trustees and I also met to discuss and agree a communication strategy for 2013 which will present the role and purpose of the AA in meaningful terms to third parties and the public. I will be sharing this ‘AA role description’ shortly with our membership.

Dear Editor and Owen Paterson

The current spread of ash dieback has belatedly resulted in Defra’s ‘Control Plan’ which, by its own admission, will be incapable of eliminating this latest tree disaster. This follows hot on the heels of Phytophthora ramorum (sudden oak death), Phytophthora kernoviae and oak processionary moth, all believed to have entered the country on imported plants or the soil they are transported in. For several other tree diseases now established here, this pathway of arrival is at least suspected. Some of these can be completely undetectable at the stage at which they enter the country. With the constant influx of live material, and with plenty of other pathogens waiting in the wings (often aided by climate change), it is inevitable that this sorry story will be repeated all too soon.

The crucial lesson that needs to be learned is how best to prevent the arrival of future pests and diseases. In this respect we are almost uniquely lucky in the British Isles in not sharing borders with much larger land masses; while airborne spores cannot be prevented from arriving, this natural advantage must be maximised. We the undersigned urge the government to take the following action:

  • Prevent the importation of all live trees and shrubs. This would be relatively easy to enforce. All this material can be grown in the UK and there are in fact great opportunities here for our own nursery trade. However, a notification period could be considered in order to soften the initial impact.
  • The needs of collections and scientific research should not be compromised and can be met by strict quarantining, as Kew Gardens has recently put in place (The National Arboretum, Westonbirt, is set to follow).
  • Restore and increase relevant funding to Forest Research, Defra, Fera and other controlling agencies and allow the professionals to get on with the job.

While there may be political hand-wringing over breaking free trade legislation with other EU countries, the case for biosecurity is now overwhelming. It is not just we tree professionals who should remain acutely aware that the mother of all tree disasters, Dutch elm disease, arrived on our shores in trunks of timber.

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Guy Watson

Guy Watson bows out

After ten years as a Technical Officer at the Arboricultural Association, Guy Watson has decided to move on at the end of January.

Guy started working as a full-time employee in 2003 and dropped down to two days per week when Paul Smith joined the Association in 2005. Since then he has been developing his own arboricultural consultancy business, which has now reached a point where it requires his full-time attention. He will be sorely missed!! READ MORE >>

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Membership Renewal. Join starting from just £58.00

AA membership renewal

All members should have received this year’s renewal forms with the winter edition of the ARB Magazine in December. If you have not done so already, please complete the forms and send them back to the AA at The Malthouse. There has never been a more important time to be in touch with your industry and all the activities and benefits that AA membership brings. The AA is your organisation so make the most of it! We are busy representing you, supporting and informing you, improving standards at all levels of arboricultural practice and offering great value to accessing workshops, seminars and events. Make sure you renew your membership to maintain your position at the forefront of your profession!

If you have any queries regarding your renewal or would like to join, call our membership officer on 01242 522152 or email membership@trees.org.uk.

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ISO 9001 (UKAS)

NArbAC Scheme now ISO 9001 (UKAS) accredited

The ARB Approved Contractor Scheme is now certificated for ISO 9001 (UKAS). And the team is on track to achieve SSIP status for the ArbAC Scheme in the spring. What does this mean to contractors accredited under the ArbAC Scheme? READ MORE from ARB Approved Contractor Scheme Manager Paul Smith.

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Tackling the threats to London’s trees

24 January, 10am–4pm, at the Livery Hall, Guildhall, City of London

The Forestry Commission is inviting AA members to an event focusing on the threats to London’s trees. The FC says, ‘The capital’s trees are under attack from an increasing variety of pests and diseases, with ash dieback the latest in a recent surge of new threats. To ensure the capital’s iconic trees and wooded heritage continue to provide multifunctional benefits now and into the future, we need to understand the threats to them and what we can collectively do to avoid or mitigate the potential impact.’ The key speakers will include Sir Harry Studholme (Interim Chair of the Forestry Commission), Jago Keen (Deputy Chair of the AA’s Trustees), Dr Joan Webber (Principal Pathologist, Forestry Commission), Tony Kirkham (Head of Arboretum, Kew Gardens), Dr Martin Ward (Chief Plant Health Officer, DEFRA) and Sue Ireland (Director of Open Spaces, City of London). Other representatives from the AA will also be there. For more information and to download a booking form, see the AA’s website READ MORE >>

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The 15th National ARB Show - 14 and 15 June 2013

Save the date: the ARB Show 2013

The 2013 ARB Show will be held at Bathurst Estate, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, on 14 and 15 June and promises to be the largest arboricultural trade show, exhibition and climbing demonstration event for years. We have made early arrangements for the sun to shine and look forward to seeing many of you there. The show will include CPD sessions, demonstrations, networking opportunities and the 3ATC climbing competition. There will also be camping facilities for those who want to stay over. READ MORE >>


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Ash dieback: Tree alert released by the Forestry Commission

Ash dieback: Tree alert released by the Forestry Commission

Chalara dieback of ash causes leaf loss, especially in the crown of the tree, and will usually be fatal. Tracking diseased trees will improve understanding of Chalara and help identify resistant strains. The FC is asking for arborists’ help: take a look at the FC's symptoms videos or symptom images and report any sightings.

To view the tree alert, visit the Forestry Commission’s main website. READ MORE >>

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New professional members

The Institute of Chartered Foresters has announced record new numbers of Professional members. The AA would also like to pass on congratulations to all who have undertaken and passed the professional examination route to the ICF. Thirty-three new members will be awarded chartered status – the highest number of candidates in the Institute’s recent history and an increase of over 25% on last year. The ICF has also appointed two new members of staff. They are Margaret Gallacher and Emma Thompson who take up positions in the Administration Office and Marketing Office respectively. READ MORE >>

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National Tree Collections of Scotland Newsletter

National Tree Collections of Scotland

The second issue of the National Tree Collections of Scotland Newsletter is now available. Corrour Estate, one of Scotland’s best-kept arboreal secrets, has joined the NTCS. Corrour is one of Scotland’s most remote tree collections, accessible to the casual visitor only via Corrour Station on the Glasgow-Mallaig line, and then a walk of several miles.

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Gold, frankincense and fir

  Lady Stormont and Linda Fabiani, MSP for East Kilbride

The iCONic Project, an international conifer conservation initiative led from Scotland, made a seasonal and symbolic gesture of goodwill, gifting an iconic monkey puzzle Christmas tree to the Scottish Parliament. Linda Fabiani, MSP for East Kilbride, accepted the gift on behalf of the Scottish Parliament. READ MORE >>