Unpopular tree safety BS draft may face chop

The British Standard draft on tree inspection could "ultimately go nowhere", says the chairman of the BSI's trees committee Mick Boddy.

Speaking at the annual Arboricultural Association conference last week, Boddy admitted that the scale of comments received on the BS 8516 draft had been unprecedented and could mean it might be scrapped altogether.

About 300 pages of responses were received through the draft's consultation, which was extended by a month to the end of August.

Many of the objections pointed to the work of the National Tree Safety Group (NTSG), chaired by forestry commissioner Sir Harry Studholme, which on 29 May held a conference aimed at reaching an industry standard on tree safety.

"The underlying theme of the consultation is that the publication of the document would be premature while the NTSG's work is ongoing," added Boddy, during the conference at the University of Kent, in Canterbury.

"No decisions have been made, and won't be until we hear back from the NTSG."

Boddy said the coming months will be a time for all the comments to be reviewed. He will be meeting with the NTSG in October and again in November.

Boddy added that options for the standard are: publication in a modified form after another consultation, postponement, withdrawal, or the option for it to become a "draft for development".

NTSG member and Treework Environmental Practice director Neville Fay said the crucial element of the group was that it brought together a wide variety of stakeholders who would be affected by decisions about trees, risk and public safety.

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