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From the CEO

I will start with my View from the Top … or should I say the top of the hill! The joke will not be lost on those of you who attended this year’s conference. For those who missed what was to my mind a not-to-be-missed event, suffice it to say the lecture theatre and exhibition hall were at the top of the hill and our accommodation was at the bottom. It was a steep hill!

On a serious point, the conference, my first, was not only interesting – with a wide range of outstanding UK and international speakers – but informative, educational and fun. The three days enabled those attending to meet other members face to face and talk to others working across the diverse span of arb in the UK and internationally. The AA’s strategic objectives are in part to raise awareness, understanding and standards, and our conference met all these aims. The energy and debate both within the lecture hall and outside were testament to the interest and enthusiasm shared by attendees. Even the AGM, with 13 nominees for 6 Trustee places, was incredibly well attended. Thank you to all those who volunteered to support the Association as Trustees or committee representatives and to my team for organising such a successful event. The changes to Trustees can be found on the website.

Finally, a few observations about conference:

1. Unlike practically everyone I met, I would not wish to climb a 350ft giant redwood, but nonetheless I found the account of doing so and pictures of the biodiversity in the top canopy amazing.

2. The Association can and should play a significant role as The voice of Arboriculture, working and partnering with others, and must build still further on the achievements of this year. This is something we can do collectively and individually.

3. I want an air-spade.

Karen Martin

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From the Chair

What came out at conference, what came out from my subsequent meeting with the Northern Branch and what I hear from members is that arboriculture is a broad church. The edges of arboriculture are fuzzy, yet its central purpose is clear. Managing the people’s natural capital is our role; ensuring trees deliver a gamut of ecosystem services is what we do day to day. And by ‘we’ I mean everyone, from those working on trees to those advising about trees.

The Arboricultural Association and its members have a vital role to play. We are the ‘umbrella’ organisation for arboriculture. We are the voice of arboriculture. We are a home for all those in arboriculture.

The Arboricultural Association is not alone. We have companion organisations we can work with to deliver the voice of arboriculture. Those organisations are local, regional and international. We are seeking ways to work with them all in spreading the word.

Our strategic direction is very clear. The Arboricultural Association is here to:

1. inspire society to understand the value of amenity trees;

2. influence decision makers to value, secure, fund and promote amenity trees;

3. improve an understanding of trees and their environment.

Your team of volunteers and staff is working on this right now. Every day the Association acts as the voice of arboriculture. This edition of eNews gives you an insight into just a few of the projects and developments that are underway.

Jago Keen

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Delegates congregate outside the Peter Chalk Center at Exeter University

AA’s National Conference 2013 – a review by Paul Barton

This review of the 47th Annual Conference has been prepared by Paul Barton of the Consultants’ Working Group.

When I read the line-up of speakers and subjects for this year’s conference, I knew that it was destined to be a good event. I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed! The conference theme was ‘managing the urban forest’ – a positive invitation to widen our horizons as arboricultural professionals and consider the big picture.

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The AA’s member survey reveal members opinions and Anthony Crook wins the Stihl top-handled saw

Survey reveals members’ opinions

With nearly 650 responses to the 2013 Association survey, members and non-members alike have made their views known about a wide range of topics from training and skills development through to communications and membership benefits.

CEO Karen Martin commented:

‘… the level of response from both members and non-members has been fantastic and shows just how committed everyone is to building an Association that serves members’ interests and promotes good practice to a wider professional and public audience. Whilst we can’t cater to every need or request, the survey information will be invaluable for informing the strategic development of the AA.’

We will shortly be loading a survey report with a detailed summary of some of the key findings onto the Association’s website, but here a few highlights:

  • 84% of non-member respondents are considering or may consider joining the Association.
  • A significant number of non-members are not aware that AA training and accreditation are open to non-members.
  • The 3 most desirable additional services for both members and non-members are: further arboricultural training, including technical skills; downloadable templates; and technical advice.
  • Paper and online communications both need to continue: 50% of all respondents want both communication channels to continue.

The lucky winner of the prize draw was Anthony Crook – Senior Arboriculture and Habitat Officer at Stockport Council, who chose the Stihl top-handled chainsaw.

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AA training news and what's new for 2014

AA training news

The AA is implementing e-commerce through its website for the booking of training and events this autumn, which will simplify and speed up the booking process, providing an efficient delegate experience.

Following on from using e-commerce for publication purchase, this is the next stage of a full ‘buy-on-line’ service, where you will be able to ‘add to basket’ a whole range of products and services.

The system is currently being tested and checked and will be available soon. You will be able to purchase one or more delegate places at one or more events, by simply registering your details and membership number (if applicable) which will then create your on-line account. Payment will be by credit/debit card, through ‘World Pay’.

This service will improve our efficiency and reduce the time spent on manual bookings, and will be in place for the launch of our suite of training courses planned for 2014.

As well as the usual provision of regular training events next year, we will be running:

  • A road show in March on the new BS8545
  • Business and marketing courses
  • A new ‘refresher course’ for Professional Tree Inspection

  • Pests and Diseases workshops
  • Plus the development of ‘ROLO for arb’ courses, Branch-led regional workshops on climbing techniques, bats, planting and more …

Keep an eye on the website for new developments over the next few weeks and we will announce this implementation with full details in the winter ARB Magazine (out 6 December).

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The AA’s ARB Approved Contractor Local Authority Nomination Workshops

New dates for AA ArbAC Local Authority Nomination Workshops

We are pleased to announce that we are holding an additional Local Authority Nomination Workshop at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, on 30 October 2013.

There is one other scheduled workshop this year, covering the South Central and South East regions, to be held at Merrist Wood College on 6 November 2013. This workshop replaces the two separate workshops previously advertised for these areas.

If you would be interested in attending either of these free events please contact jess@trees.org.uk to reserve a place. As with all Local Authority Nomination Workshops, small contractors who can secure a nomination from their local tree officer will have the opportunity to win a free or half price assessment in a draw at the end of the event. To download a nomination form, please click here.

We are also hoping to arrange a workshop for Cornish contractors in late November – so please get in touch with us if this would be of interest!

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The AA's 48th National Amenity Conference - Royal Holloway, London

AA 48th National Conference – Applied Arboriculture

The AA’s 2014 conference theme will be centred around ‘Applied Arboriculture: Healthy Trees, Healthy People’. The event will coincide with the Arboricultural Association’s 50th Anniversary celebrations – and we hope you will help us make it a conference to remember!

Further details will be made available over the coming months, so keep popping back to the website page regularly. Also look out for information via our Twitter and Facebook pages.

We look forward to seeing you in September 2014 at the University of London!

*The conference theme may be subject to changes.


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The i-Tree project piloted in Torbay

i-Tree Eco UK Steering Group set up at AA conference

During an already packed AA conference programme at Exeter, room was also made for an important Sunday evening meeting on how best to take forward the i-Tree approach in the UK. The meeting was convened by Kenton Rogers (Treeconomics) and Tony Hutchins (Forest Research), who have been working together on i-Tree Eco projects since the 2010 pilot in Torbay. The meeting set the stage for a unified approach to the UK development of these tools and the collective view was that i-Tree will be hugely influential in allowing us to argue the case for trees in the future and that we should be actively seeking its co-ordinated development.

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FISA/AFAG Safety Guides

FISA/AFAG Safety Guides – where are we now?

The HSE’s Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group (AFAG) committee has been working with the Forest Industry Safety Accord (FISA) and the AA to help industry take responsibility for the safe working practices, and to improve the safety record, of the tree work industry.

FISA has taken on all of the forestry-based activities, along with the relevant AFAG safety guides, and these have been re-branded with the FISA logo and new leaflet design, but currently most have not been technically reviewed.

Meanwhile, the AA has agreed to take on the aerial tree work guidance and we have now secured the necessary funding to develop an Industry Code of Practice (ICOP) for Tree Work at Height – an over-arching industry guidance document that will be produced over the next year or so and will be available as a free electronic document via our website. The ICOP will be aimed at the ‘Responsible Person’ and will cover legal requirements, planning, responsibilities, risk assessment and fundamental principles and protocols.

This will enable the further development of a series of practical, technical guides, which will effectively replace the existing AFAG guides 401, 402 308 and 403, plus the Guide to Good Climbing Practice and the MEWPS guide, and will also include brand new technical guides on rigging, use of cranes and possibly others.

During this development period the aerial tree work AFAG guides remain available free to download from the HSE website: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/forindex.htm

However, between the aerial tree work guides and the pure forestry guides there are a number of titles that are relevant to both the arb and forestry sectors, which include the range of ground-based chainsaw guides, amongst others. A small team of arborists are meeting with a FISA team in November to agree the best way forward for these and a fuller report will appear in future e-news and/or the ARB Magazine to explain how this partnership working will manage these guides.

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2013 Ride for Research, London

2013 second Ride for Research draws closer

Fund4Trees (F4T) is pleased to announce that it is now a registered charity. It will provide an over-arching structure to deliver a range of different charitable initiatives. One example is the already established Ride for Research.

Applications are now open to those wishing to take part in the second 2013 Ride for Research – so come and join Karen Martin and other riders from the AA and beyond. The 25-mile circular route from Kew Gardens (on designated cycle ways) along the Thames will take place on 23 October. We’ll be stopping at three schools to plant trees with pupils. A major focus of the school visits will be environmental education. The ride is open to foresters, arboriculturists and anyone interested in trees and the environment. If you don’t want to ride yourself but would like to volunteer to support the 2013 Ride for Research, please let us know how you may be able to help.

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South East Branch: Tree Canopy Access Awareness Workshop

Date: Friday 18 October

Venue: Grantham Hall, Lamberhurst Quarter, Lamberhurst, nr Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 8AJ

A theory session will include:

  • What is single rope technique (SRT)?
  • Risk assessment for access options – don’t discount ladders …
  • Understanding the development of SRT and key legislation relating to SRT, including Work at Height regs
  • Selecting equipment for SRT systems
  • Setting anchor points, including lowerable systems
  • Practising techniques (depending on numbers this may be limited to a few participants)
  • Discussion of the range of reference sources, courses and further information on SRT

This will be followed by practical demonstrations in the afternoon. The cost of the day is £45.00 per person including VAT (@20%). Places are limited to 20 (with no more than 2 people per company).

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The British Oak & Other Tree News Flyer

Cornwall Branch: The British Oak & Other Tree News

Date: 29 October 2013, 19:00 – 22:00

Venue: Truro Town Hall, Truro

Cost: £7.50 per person

An evening of informative talks about trees, headlined by Mr. Archie Miles presenting his new book ‘The British Oak’ which is due to be published in October 2013.

A representative of Cornwall Council will provide an overview of tree issues in Cornwall; and a panel of professionals will be on-hand for a Q&A session at the end of the evening.

For further details contact: Alan Rowe on 01872 224 474 or alrowe@cornwall.gov.uk


Woodland Communication Programme

Woodland Communication Programme

Suffolk County Council, in association with a number of national organisations including the RFS, Confor, Forestry Commission and CLA, is hosting a FREE Woodland Communication Day at Horringer Community Centre, Horringer, on 15 November. To book contact Gary Battell, Woodland Advisory Officer, at gary.battell@suffolk.gov.uk.

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The Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Managing Habitats for Bumblebees

Bumblebee Conservation Trust one-day conference

Venue: Royal Holloway University, Surrey

Date: Thursday 7 November

This conference is designed to give practical, hands-on information regarding habitat management for bumblebees and how to apply it at a site level, both in the wider countryside and the urban environment. A range of talks will cover bumblebee ecology, current research into habitat management, and practical land management techniques that can be used to support these important pollinators. For more information contact Gill.Perkins@bumblebeeconservation.org

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Conker Tree Science

Now is the time to take part in the Mission: Bird Attacks. We would like to discover more about the behaviour of blue tits that feed on horse-chestnut leaf-miners. Is it possible that blue tits could be the saviour of our horse-chestnut trees? All you need to do is look for signs of bird attacks, count them and then record your results. (You don’t need to wait and watch for the birds themselves.)

You can still take part in the Mission: Alien Moth Survey. Our impression is that the amount of damage is much more variable this year than in previous years, with some trees being much more lightly affected than in previous years. (Is that true? Submit your records to make the picture clearer.) All records are valuable, and remember to enjoy the trees looking partly green – we suspect that next year most of them will be back to looking completely brown by this time of year.

Check out the project Blog.

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Stefanie Kaiser, Communications Manager, Confor

Confor’s new communication generation

Confor is delighted to welcome Stefanie Kaiser as its new Communications Manager. Already in post, Stefanie will work alongside Jane Karthaus in FTN and e-news roles, until taking over when Jane retires at the end of January 2014.

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Call for abstracts

Arboriculture Australia Conference 2014

Arboriculture Australia Ltd’s annual conference caters for three industry streams:

1. Urban Forestry – Any subject related to trees within our built environment. For example, topics can include human health and well-being, design, biology, physiology, soils, ecology, technology, energy benefits, pollution, hydrology, preservation, development, planning etc.

2. Utility Arborists – Any subject related to trees within utility easements or rightaways above and below ground

3. Practical Arboriculture – Any subject related to tree surgery techniques, practices and equipment

If you would like to submit an abstract for consideration by the Conference Programming Committee for 2014, READ MORE >>

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The Scottich Arb Centre in Inverkeithing

Scottish Arb Centre – open for business

The launch of the Scottish Arb Centre in Inverkeithing near Edinburgh has created the single biggest training and retail space in the region and gives some much needed rejuvenation to arboriculture and forestry in Scotland.

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The Chartered Environmentalist Seminars – 11 November 2013

A free networking event for Chartered Environmentalists, Foresters and other environmental professions in the Scotland area. Focussing on the remarkable and unexpected qualities of timber in Engineering

Venue: Edinburgh Napier University

Date: Monday 11 November 2013, 4.30pm – 7.30pm

There will be a number of speakers who include: Dougal Driver ICF, Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis, Alex Galloway CVO. The event is FREE and open to all Chartered Environmentalists. We encourage you to bring colleagues eligible for CEnv status who have not yet registered. It will be a good opportunity to network with other Chartered Environmentalists from a wide range of environmental professions, to make new connections and to discuss the environmental issues of today.

If you would like to attend please email your details to elaine.rutherford@socenv.org.uk

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The iCONic Project

News from The iCONic Project

Japan Expedition

iCONic is imminently departing on a 16-day collecting trip to target populations of rare and threatened conifers in Japan with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). Read about the expedition READ MORE >>

Red Wood Visit

iCONic’s patron, Lady Stormont, recently visited the native forests of giant redwood on a family holiday to California, USA. It was our patron’s first visit to see these famous trees, and we hope that in the next couple of years iCONic will also be able to visit the area to collect seed to add new giant redwoods to many of Perthshire’s tree collections. Read all about the trip and the Giant redwoods READ MORE >>

iCONic Goes Landward

The iCONic project was featured on BBC’s ‘Landward’ TV show this summer, one of a series of four features on the wider work of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. READ MORE >>

Sharing Globally

A new international web resource, which will eventually contain all the global and national IUCN conservation assessments for the world’s threatened conifers, has recently been launched. READ MORE >>

Get Involved

iCONic needs your help to grow and fulfil its objectives of saving some of the world’s most threatened conifers and providing a new generation of beautiful trees for landscapes.

Get more involved with the iCONic project by clicking here


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