Me & My Job - Sam Bateson, tree officer, Greenwich Housing Department

- What is your typical day?

It differs between summer and winter.Right now it's mostly inspections. My day starts at 7.30am, when I draw up a plan of work for the day with the team, then go out inspecting individual trees in response to requests from tenants. These could be to do with issues of light or subsidence.

The borough has a lot of property, some of it quite old, and has a lot of large trees with it which are often near schools and highways. The department has an obligation to maintain these, which is why my post was created last year.

In the winter, when there are fewer requests, I survey and catalogue the trees as part of a five-yearly inspection programme and come up with a programme of work for them.

- What is the best thing about your job?

 I like being out and looking at trees. Plus we have a good team and good equipment, which many boroughs don't.

- And the worst?

 There's a lot of paperwork, which is a downside, but then you have to have all the data in case a tree fails. If it's one that I've inspected then I'm liable.

- What piece of kit can't you do without?

 My hammer and probe. Visual inspection can tell you a lot but a tree can look fine from the outside yet be hollow in the middle.

- What does the future hold?

I recently signed up to take the Arboriculture Association's Technician's Certificate in Arboriculture, which will take one day a week from September to June. It will give me greater knowledge of individual species and how to sample and analyse fungi. The legal side is also becoming more important, so you need to know about that too.


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