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.
The tree pest oriental chestnut gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus) has been confirmed in sweet chestnut trees (Castanea sativa) in a woodland in Kent.
A Forestry Commission spokesperson said:
“The oriental chestnut gall wasp has been discovered in one area of Kent.
“This is a pest that only affects sweet chestnut (Castanea) species of tree, and does not pose any risk to people, pets or farm livestock.
“We have launched an immediate investigation of the surrounding woodland and, once we have fully assessed the situation, we will swiftly take any appropriate action.”
A full statement has been published on our website at www.forestry.gov.uk/gallwasp, and will be updated as the situation evolves. The affected woodland is Farningham Woods, near Sevenoaks, Kent.
The website should answer most questions you might have, but:
The benefits that all of London’s trees provide have been given a monetary value in the London i-Tree Eco Project report published yesterday. The quantity of these benefits – such as air quality improvement and carbon storage – is the result of the world’s largest survey of a city region involving hundreds of trained volunteers.
Most people appreciate the beauty of London’s trees but may not know, or tend to take for granted, the benefits that London’s urban forest provides for both people and nature. The i-Tree report, sponsored by Unilever, gives us a much better understanding of the structure and value of London’s urban forest. It is a method that is recognised worldwide and enables comparison with other cities. The information produced enables us to make better plans to manage London’s trees and highlights the need for continued tree planting to increase tree canopy cover over London.
The survey found that:
The report highlights that there are a wide range of tree species - not just native trees but trees from around the world - that are suited to London conditions. However, at a more local level there are vulnerable landscapes that are currently reliant on one or two tree species, such as some parts of central London dominated by the iconic London plane. In order to reduce the risk of large numbers of trees being lost within a short time, planting of a wider species range is needed.
The report calls for everyone to recognise and support the multiple benefits that trees provide for London and to make their own contribution to protecting and enhancing London’s tree cover. This will help ensure that London continues to be a green city for future generations by planting trees in gardens, supporting tree planting by others, supporting organisations that promote and protect London’s trees.
Environment Minister, Rory Stewart, said: “Our trees and forests have long been central to British identity. But we are beginning to understand with even more precision, just how important they are to our air quality, our health and our happiness. This is a fantastic initiative. And it sits very well alongside our drive to plant an additional 11 million trees in this parliament, and to support green spaces across the country.”
Charlotte Carroll, Unilever UK Sustainability and Communications Director, commented: “The findings of this report provide clear evidence of the importance of trees in the fight against climate change and of their value to our society in helping to deliver a more sustainable future. At Unilever we're working on this important issue through our brightFuture movement and with the UN Climate Conference, COP21 in progress, now is the time to engage in the importance of trees in our everyday lives.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “London is one of the greenest, leafiest cities on the planet and as this survey proves, our canopy does a ‘tree mendous’ job of lowering pollution, alleviating flood water and boosting our environment.”
Craig Harrison, Forestry Commission London Manager said: “The i-Tree report shows some of the ways in which London’s trees enhance our daily lives, and many of the trees we enjoy today are the legacy of past tree planting. But London’s trees face challenges such as development pressures, climate change and disease. With the expected increase in London’s population the need for more trees will increase - so we need to protect existing trees and plant new trees - to ensure London remains an enjoyable place to live, work and visit”
London iTree survey - The report is available from:
The incident happened over 12 months ago in February 2014. A call came into the Parks department saying a resident was removing Council owned trees. My colleagues at the time attended (as I was on leave) and confronted the house owner; they then called the local park police. The police attended and arrested the house owner. The duty Sergeant then unarrested them. It was only when we pushed the police that they the charged the house owner again.
A few weeks later, I was asked to have a look at the trees again with regard to their value, as some of the trees had been so badly hacked, I made the assumption that they had full canopies prior to the event. The trees have started to regenerate but obviously lost their central leader, so as stated in court, their value was reduced. I was very conservative when calculating their value, this proved to be a good thing in court, as they could see I had not over egged the cake so to speak.
The defence had an expert witness - who concentrated mainly on the condition of a large Ash tree which had been reduced back in 2009. They also brought into the mix poor planning that allowed the property to be built in 2011, far too close to this tree to which I agreed, but was not my issue. There was a Daldinia growing on an old stump on the lower stem but this was irrelevant to the case, as was the Council’s inspection records which were also questioned. It has really highlighted to me the importance of a good and well recorded management system which we now have in place. Prior to this on an open site, such as allotments, we had risk assessments only.
At the beginning of the trial the defence Expert and I got together to produce a joint statement which helped the process and stopped a lot unnecessary hassle during the trial. The Judge was quite good at steering the barristers in getting to the real issue of criminal damage, rather that swaying the jury with misleading information on inspection schedules etc.
The defence was focused on the structural condition of the Ash and that the householder was concerned about the safety of his family - he said there was a hanging branch which he cleared; something that I said would have been dealt with by our term contractor on an emergency basis. It was obvious that there was far more removed than just a hanging branch. It was also pointed out that the accused used unskilled staff with no safety equipment which put them, him and others at high risk of harm.
In the dock, I was asked about the type of debris and why I believed that more than two branches had been remove from the large Ash. There was also question why we thought all the trees had been damaged at a similar time, freshness of cuts, poor quality, all done in haste etc
In the end it was a unanimous decision by the Jury which was a surprise. The whole thing was quite stressful at times, but a good experience. The lessons I will take away from this are improvements in recorded inspections and more time and detail in producing reports, when investigating criminal damage.
Stephen Lacey of the Telegraph attended the last LTOA seminar on 5 November 2015 about big trees and wrote the following article on 29 November 2015 mentioning two of our members Andy Tipping, Arboricultural Manager at LB Barnet with the Dawn Redwood avenue and Tom Campbell, Tree Officer at Hackney with the Tree Champions initiative.