• 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

On 2nd March 2020 the Association of Tree Officers (ATO) joined a workshop in London to discuss draft guidance for local authorities in relation to the forthcoming legislation in the Environment Bill 2019-21 concerning the duty to consult on the removal of street trees, and creating local Tree and Woodland Frameworks.

ATO Directors Barbara Milne and Alistair Smith attended to represent the organisation.

Other representation at the meeting included the London Tree Officers Association, Trees and Design Action Group, Woodland Trust and the Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committee.  A similar session also took place in Birmingham on 25th February 2020.

Duty to Consult on the removal of street trees

Detailed discussion took place on the wording of the Bill itself, in particular in relation to the limitations of the exemptions in Bill, and also on the guidance, presented at the meeting, which has been drafted in order to assist local authorities in implementing the requirements of the legislation.  Many suggestions for improving both the wording of the Bill and the draft guidance were made, and hopefully will go forward to influence the next drat of the guidance and the  final wording of the Act as it passes through Parliament. A request was made for wider distribution of the draft guidance once it has been revised, and prior to publication, to allow for greater input by tree officers.

Local Tree and Woodland Frameworks

The Environment Bill does not impose a duty on local authorities to produce a Tree and Woodland Framework (i.e. a tree strategy or tree policy), but the Government is considering providing best practice advice.  Broadly, there was a general conclusion that best practice advice should be flexible enough for individual local authorities to tailor their frameworks (should they choose to create one), to their  own local priorities and requirements, and the frameworks should also take account of other local strategies and policies.

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


The Diversity and Inclusion Working Party of the LTOA was formed in response to the Chair, Barbara Milne’s, call for an investigation into potential barriers to accessing the Arboricultural profession, particularly for women.

During the initial meetings they expanded this aim, to work towards improving accessibility in general, including encouraging people from different social and educational backgrounds, encouraging people from different cultural backgrounds, people with external demands on their time, to name a few.

Part of the issues surrounding accessibility is how Tree Officers promote their work and roles. Often this is through job advertisements and recruitment.

The initial findings found inaccurate information on public websites about the role of a Tree Officer. As a result, they have created a new, up-to-date job profile that they hope will improve people’s knowledge of the job requirements and subsequently encourage more diverse applicants.

Click here to view the Job Profile (PDF)

ATO Events Calendar