Davies Trees logo - Chris Davies Arboricultural Consultant

Tree Safety Inspections

Landowners have a general “duty of care” to visitors (including trespassers) under the Owner’s and Occupiers Liability Act. If a tree falls and causes damage to people or property the owner will be liable if it can be proven that he/she has been negligent. Trees should be managed to reduce any risk they pose to a reasonable level. Tree owners must be able to show that regular tree inspections have taken place, especially on trees by roadsides. This would involve employing a competent tree specialist to periodically inspect the tree and provide a report on its condition, and in between these periods, the tree owner would be expected to check the tree on a regular basis for any externally visible signs of weakness. This duty of care was further clarified in the judgement in Poll v Viscount Asquith of Morley, 2006 where a lack of appropriate inspection of roadside trees by a competent specialist was deemed to be negligence on behalf of the tree owner.

For commercial landowners, an effective system for managing trees should meet the requirements set out in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the associated ACoP (guidance is contained in HSG 65 Successful health and safety management and INDG 163 Five steps to risk assessment) and should include regular, competent tree inspections and the undertaking of works to maintain tree safety.

Our appraisal of tree safety is designed to help landowners discharge their legal responsibilities.

C ontact: Davies Trees - chris@daviestrees.co.uk - 01279 501134 - 6 Windsor Gardens, Bishop’s Stortford, Herts, CM23 4PQ