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The Importance of Tree Safety

Fri 14 August 2020

In 2016, a branch fell from a tree onto a car in the Wirral and tragically killed an unborn child. Last month, Wirral Borough Council pleaded guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court. The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the tree had a defect and the Council who owned the land had not inspected it for at least 13 years. The Council were found to have failed to identify and manage the risk from falling trees and branches and had failed to implement a robust system of tree inspection. They were fined £100,000 plus £50,000 in costs.

Paul McGee, Associate and Rural Chartered Surveyor at youngsRPS said: “This incident serves as reminder that land and property owners have a duty to have trees inspected and carry out any necessary remedial work. This will not only reduce the risk of injury, or even death, but also reduce the risk of damage to property.”

Inspections must be carried out by a suitably qualified person and the interval between inspections will depend of the location, condition and species of tree. Paul said: “Very few farmers and landowners have a system in place that would stand up to scrutiny and are therefore putting themselves at risk of prosecution and fines in the event of an incident.”

For advice and assistance in managing your tree safety, please contact Paul McGee on 07872 069819 or by emailing paul.mcgee@youngsrps.com.