Please find here the formal London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) response to Defra’s consultation Protecting and enhancing England’s trees and woodlands.
The LTOA represents more than 150 tree officers and managers in London and beyond. This consultation response was produced by a working party set up exclusively for the purpose which is comprised of seven tree officers and managers, from inner and outer London, with a combined experience of public tree management of more than 110 years. It has been approved by the LTOA Executive Committee on behalf of the LTOA membership.
One of the principal roles of the tree officer is to protect and enhance the urban forest within their Local Authority for the benefit of their communities. They do this based on their knowledge, experience, qualifications and passion for trees. In recent years they have been subjected to the same pressures as other colleagues in the public sector – reduced numbers, budget cuts, loss of administration support and additional responsibilities.
Tree officers and communities should not be regarded as two groups in opposition to one another; tree officers are part of the communities in which they live and work. We all want to see the same thing – more trees in our urban environment, managed safely and responsibly for the benefit of all. Creating new statutory burdens for already overstretched tree officers is not the answer and will, ultimately, make the situation worse.
The full consultation document and Defra questionnaire can be found here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/