• 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

Bookings open for National Tree Officers Conference 2022

Building on the success of six previous events, the acclaimed National Tree Officers Conference will return to its roots in Telford on the 9th November 2022. This will be the first face-to-face National Tree Officers Conference in three years and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone in person.

Developed by tree officers for tree officers, National Tree Officers Conference 2022 will be a unique gathering for professionals interested in all areas of local authority arboricultural work. The conference is crucial to tree, woodland and planning officers, providing a significant platform for collaboration, partnerships, benchmarking and offering an insight into current best practice and research. It will demonstrate industry innovation from across the UK, and this year we'll also feature an international speaker providing an example of local authority tree management in the City of Santa Monica, California.

Proudly organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers’ Association (MTOA), the Association of Tree Officers (ATO) and the Institute of Chartered Foresters, this influential event will showcase the latest research, best practice and innovation in different areas of local authority tree, woodland and planning work.

Confirmed presentations include:

'Trees and the Law: An Update'

  • Dr Charles Mynors FICFor (Hon)  FRTPI  FRICS  IHBC
  • Stephanie Hall
  • Elizabeth Nicholls  MCIArb

Dr Charles Mynors was a planner in local government before practising for 27 years as a barrister. He is the author of The Law of Trees, Forests and Hedges and has been given an Award of Merit by the International Society of Arboriculture, and elected an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. He is now working for the Law Commission on simplifying planning legislation.

Stephanie Hall is a barrister with busy practice in planning and local government law, at Kings Chambers in Leeds.  Chambers UK Directory has described her as “very user-friendly and reassuring in her advice, particularly in relation to tree matters”.

Elizabeth Nicholls is a barrister at 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, with a commercial, chancery and property practice; she is also a highly successful negotiator, mediator and arbitrator. Her work includes cases relating to land, environment, and nuisance, with a particular emphasis on tree disputes. She is a Trustee of the Arboricultural Association.

'Urban Deforestation: A Tale of Two Forests'

  • Matthew Wells MICFor – Landscape Manager, City of Santa Monica

Matthew is the Public Landscape Manager for the coastal City of Santa Monica in Southern California. Santa Monica strives to be a beacon of sustainable local government by focusing efforts on its programs like urban forestry. Prior to his role as Public Landscape Manager, Matthew served as the Director of Tree Preservation for NYC Parks, an Arboricultural Officer for the London Borough of Camden, and a Tree Surgeon in his local village. As a Chartered Forester with a master’s degree in Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, he has a unique international experience of urban forestry.

'The Value of Trees – Re-establishing Trees on the Highway'

  • Andy Jackson – Project Manager, Leicestershire County Council

Andy is a qualified project manager with a background in habitat conservation and the environment. During his career, Andy has worked across sectors including conservation charities and 20 years in the Environment and Transport Department at Leicestershire County Council.  Previous roles in the department have been diverse, including delivering landscape scale habitat conservation, green infrastructure and flood alleviation schemes and managing the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road project.

'The Perfect Storm? Aberdeenshire Council’s Response to the Extreme Weather Events of Winter 2021/22'

  • Fiona Chirnside – Environment Planner, Aberdeenshire Council

Fiona graduated with a degree in Arboriculture and Amenity Forestry from the University of Aberdeen in 1999 and has spent most of her career working in local government. Previously a tree officer in the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames, she now works as an Environment Planner as part of the Natural Heritage team in rural Aberdeenshire. Based primarily on the planning side, her role includes developing council policy in relation to forestry and trees, managing protected trees and supporting local communities. Her work involves trees and people and she has a special interest in how the two relate to each other.

'Enforcement Guidance Suite'

  • Chris Ryder – Tree Team Manager, London Borough of Bromley

Chris studied arboriculture from school through to graduation from the University of Brighton. He worked for five years as a Ranger with English Heritage, during which time he worked with the varied landscape found at Hampstead Heath, including woodland management, invasive species control programs and ecological surveys. Chris always wanted to work in the urban forestry sector and spent two years as a Tree Officer at South Bucks District Council before taking up his current position. Chris is an active member of the London Tree Officer’s Association (LTOA) and an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

'Communities and Trees: Bridging the Gap Between the Public and Professionals’

  • Greg Packman – Senior Tree Inspector, London Borough of Islington

Greg's role as Senior Tree Inspector for the London Borough of Islington covers the ongoing management of Islington’s trees in addition to working with external clients such as the City of London, Alexandra Park and Epping Forest. A large part of his work involves the surveying and management of pests and diseases, particularly of London plane. Greg is an executive committee member of the London Tree Officer’s Association and also co-chair of the Ancient Tree Forum London group.

'Promoting Trees Outside Woodland: Barriers and Drivers to Increase Tree Cover'

  • Louise Hill – Ecologist, Defra Tree Health Team
  • Sunita Welch – Evaluation Specialist, Natural England

Louise Hill is an ecologist working in Defra’s Tree Health team, where her focus is on helping ecosystems and landscapes to recover following tree health issues. She has been working in the tree health area since completing her PhD on the ecological impacts of ash dieback in 2017.

Sunita Welch is an evaluation specialist working in Natural England’s Chief Scientist Directorate. She has been working at the intersection of people and nature for over 25 years.

With more presentations to be confirmed, featuring content presented by expert arboricultural and urban forestry professionals, this is going to be a fantastic event.

The National Tree Officers Conference 2022 will be a great opportunity to connect with peers and learn more about the latest developments in arboriculture and urban forestry.

Find out more and book at https://www.charteredforesters.org/event/national-tree-officers-conference-2022

The Environment Act received Royal Assent in November 2021. While most of its provisions came into force on the 9th of January the duty on local authorities to consult on the felling of street trees will be implemented sometime in Summer 2023. Prior to this Defra intends to hold a public consultation on guidance for the duty to consult provision sometime in Autumn 2022 /Spring 2023. This guidance when published will assist local authorities in their preparations for being ready to implement the duty when a date is set. The guidance will provide timescales and advice on how to interpret the requirements of the duty imposed. This guidance will be in addition to the Forestry Commission’s Operations Note: Advice to local authorities on evidencing exemptions to the need for a felling licence. The England Tree Action Plan sets out further actions on making improvements to how trees and woodlands are better cared for as part of government policy.

ATO Events Calendar