Housing associations urged to survey trees to cut insurance bill

A company that specialises in managing landscape has produced a document outlining the responsibility of housing associations to look after trees.

The document urges all associations to produce surveys of trees and suggests that proper planning will ultimately reduce insurance costs. There are currently 1,800 housing associations in the UK, which manage a total of 1.7 million homes.

An Overview of Tree Risk Management for Housing Associations is produced by Landscape Planning, which works with around 75 housing associations, helping them to manage trees. The company pointed out that associations have a duty of care - both to their tenants and to anyone who might be in the neighbourhood of their trees.

It suggested regular tree surveys and said most attention should be given to trees in common areas such as paths and open spaces in front of the homes where people are most likely to be hurt by falling branches. Landscape Planning recommend that surveys should be carried out every three years.

It said associations should respond to any issues raised by tenants. They should also be careful only to employ contractors and sub-contractors that are properly accredited and insured. Leaflets should be distributed so that tenants understand the safety issues around trees, it added.

The document suggests that a properly laid out policy will enable housing associations to obtain more competitive insurance rates. Landscape planning is holding a series of tree management seminars aimed at associations and other large landlords. It advocates the use of GIS systems to record information about individual trees.

- Further details on the document and seminars are available at www.landscapeplanning.co.uk.

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