Arborists' association urgers clients to vet tree surgeons

Moves are part of fight against 500 per cent hikes in insurance premiums

Arborists are fighting against 500 per cent hikes in insurance cover. The Arboricultural Association has introduced two measures to show the industry is taking more responsibility for health and safety, while insurance firm Bryant Kesek is writing new insurance business as part of a scheme with Legal & General. The AA has produced 40,000 leaflets for use by contractors quoting for jobs and by local authorities replying with decision notices to people who want to do work on trees. The leaflet, supported by nine organisations, including the Health & Safety Executive, gives information to potential customers on what checks to make regarding competence and insurance cover of arborists they might hire. AA director Nick Eden said that while arborists were cleaning up their act, “the big question is what is happening to those not operating in such a manner”. He said some firms were operating with just a mobile phone as a contact, “and if there are problems, they run”. Eden added: “The amount of money companies are paying for insurance is going up and up. The challenge is to get the message across that people must check the company they’re engaging.” The AA has also secured a contract with the HSE to hold workshops aimed at corporate clients, such as housing associations, railways, developers and local government tree officers. Law and safety standards are among the areas to be covered. Information is available from the HSE on 08701 545 500. - The AA’s advice on engaging arborists is downloadable from www.trees.org.uk

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