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.
Following the launch of ATO in February 2020, the organisation has actively been supporting and promoting tree officers through its activities during the past 12 months:
Appointment of a new ATO Director - Peter Howson, Principal Tree Officer at Liverpool City Council.
ATO joins the National Tree Officer Conference (NTOC) steering group.
Two successful biannual ATO local authority member on-line events in June 2020 and January 2021. Speakers included:
Dr Charles Lane, Consultant Plant Pathologist of Fera Science: Observatree & International Plant Sentinel Network.
Tom Russell-Grant, Tree Officer, Norfolk County Council: Ash Dieback in Norfolk, focus on inspections and impact of Covid-19.
Pete Stringer, Technical & GI Planning Manager, City of Trees – ‘City of Trees, A Community Forest Re-Invented’
Paul Nolan, Director, Mersey Forest Team – ‘The role of The Mersey Forest Partnership in supporting a Climate Emergency Response’.
ATO responses to national consultations:
- Environmental Land Management
- England Tree Strategy
- UK Parliament Committee - Tree Planting & Woodlands (call for evidence)
- PEFC Trees Outside Forests Consultation, (currently being drafted).
ATO working parties, two currently in progress:
- Joint ATO, LTOA, Tree Forum & Arboricultural Association 5G telecoms infrastructure and trees
- Joint LTOA & ATO tree planting.
Additional website pages (www.ato.org.uk) for:
- Tree & woodland strategies/policies
- Government consultation responses.
Four successful quarterly Tree Officer Forum online meetings with on average 20 tree officer group leads attending.
Increased tree officer groups joining the Tree Officer Forum.
ATO ‘Supporters’ - Increased visibility on website.
Increased ATO supporters.
Increased ATO membership.
PEFC UK, with the assistance of a small working group are in the process of developing a standard for certification of ‘Trees outside Forests and specifically trees within an Urban environment'. This will be an appendix to the already endorsed national sustainable forest management scheme, which is the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS). The UKWAS has been adapted, with the grateful consent of the UKWAS Steering Group, to meet the requirements of the appendix in the PEFC International SFM standard (PEFC ST 1003: 2018) which covers ‘Trees outside Forests’. The consultation draft is out for consideration. It is hoped that once established, the standard will become an independently certified benchmark for councils and local authorities around the UK.
The consultation will last 60 days from 5th Jan 2021. After this period, the draft will be revised according to the feedback and comments received and submitted to the PEFC International for an Independent review and approval. https://www.pefc.co.uk/news_articles/pefc-trees-outside-forests-consultation