• The Association of Tree Officers (ATO)

    The Association of Tree Officers (ATO)

    Representing the views and concerns of tree officers nationwide
  • The Association of Tree Officers (ATO)

    The Association of Tree Officers (ATO)

    Representing the views and concerns of tree officers nationwide
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Welcome to The Association of Tree Officers Website

The Association of Tree Officers (ATO) will promote, support and represent Tree Officers. Administrative control of ATO will be undertaken by the ATO Directors, supported by the National Co-ordinator, Becky Porter.

Current ATO members

Latest News

Building on the success of previous conferences, the fifth National Tree Officer’s Conference is being organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA), the Association of Tree Officers (ATO) and facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF).

The conference will be held on Wednesday the 4th November 2020 at Sheffield Town Hall.

The submission period for presentation proposals is now open and will close on Tuesday 9 June 2020 at 5pm.

This is a great opportunity for tree, woodland and planning officers to present to their peers on the latest research, best practice and innovation in different areas of local authority arboricultural and urban forestry work. 

Proposals must include your name, email address, presentation topic with overview (500-word maximum) and estimated duration.

Based on feedback from delegates at last year’s conference, the following subjects will be given preference:

  • Planning enforcement
  • Standardisation of planning procedures and conditions
  • Planting, including species selection in respect of climate change adaptation and resilience
  • Tree health, pest and diseases (Ash dieback in particular)

Additional topics will also be considered:

  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Legal issues
  • Tree valuation
  • Subsidence

The above lists are not exhaustive; the steering group is interested to consider any submission that is current and relevant to the national conference.

Submissions will be reviewed by a committee, with selection criteria including quality, appropriateness, focus, the practical nature of material, and potential appeal to the audience. 

Outlines should be sent by email to Becky Porter (LTOA): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We look forward to receiving your submissions. 

On the 2nd March 2020 the Association of Tree Officers (ATO) was invited to join the above reading room session in London and ATO Directors Barbara Milne and Alistair Smith attended to represent the organisation. There were other regional and national organisations attending including the London Tree Officers Association, Trees Design Action Group, Woodland Trust. The session was Chaired by a Department of Food & Rural Affairs representative with Jim Smith, National Tree & Woodland Advisor, Forestry Commission, in attendance to help inform and guide the discussions. (A similar session also took place in Birmingham on the 25th February 2020.)

The session was divided into the two discussion areas below and scheduled for 3 hours in total, however due to the high level of discussion and its positive nature, the session was extended by 90 minutes.

The Duty to Consult on the felling of street trees

As the Environment Bill has been re-introduced into parliament, this part of the session started by being invited to read the draft guidance as it stood at the above date. This was followed was followed by a detailed discussion on each paragraph of the document. The concerns and suggestions of the group were noted and will hopefully go forward to influence the final draft document, before it is potentially examined by parliament. (Hard copies of the draft guidance were made available on the basis they were returned at the end of the session.)

Local Tree and Woodland Frameworks

There is currently no statutory requirement for local authorities to produce a Tree and Woodland Framework (tree strategy/policy). Therefore, the session concentrated on a discussion around the possible content of a framework. Broadly, this resulted in a general conclusion that a best guidance framework should be flexible enough for individual local authorities to tailor the framework to their local needs, requirements and priorities, which could then feed into, and take account of other local strategies. A national guidance framework therefore hopefully providing consistency of approach.

The ATO Directors would like to reassure all members that we are working hard to ensure business continuity for ATO at this exceptional time.  We are facing new and sometimes substantial challenges to our working and personal lives, and we are all having to adapt quickly to try to maintain the services we provide to our local authorities and clients.

Until further notice, ATO are making use of conference calls and other virtual meeting technology to continue with business.  

If you have any queries about the measures we are taking please let us know by email to Becky Porter on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the first instance. We would also be keen for you to make suggestions about how we can continue to provide our services and support to all our members.

From all of the ATO Directors we hope you are all keeping safe and well, and let us also hope that normality returns before too long.


The Association of Tree Officers (ATO) has emerged from the National Association of Tree Officers (NATO) and the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) joining forces to build a stronger national organisation. ATO will represent and promote UK tree officers at a national and international level and support the work of the regional tree officer groups.

During the past year the ATO Directors have:

  • appointed new Directors
  • defined the ‘aims & vision’ of the organisation and written a new constitution
  • changed the name and designed a new logo
  • established a comprehensive business plan
  • drawn up a new membership package, which includes a range of benefits for both local authority and a new individual membership category
  • made regular contact with most of the regional tree officer groups in the UK through the Tree Officer Forum, providing the organisation with a ‘grass roots’ national perspective
  • become a National Tree Officer Conference (NTOC) steering group partner
  • been building the website to be an information resource for tree officers and other professionals

With the continued support of our membership and supporters and the strong links to regional tree officer groups, ATO is the national voice for tree officers. Standing together tree officers will have a stronger and unified voice, which can only be a good thing for tree officers.

For more information please explore our website further and if you would like to become a member of ATO please take a look at our membership pages https://www.ato.org.uk/members


ATO Events Calendar