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Jon Heuch

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About Jon Heuch

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  • Location:
    Kent
  • Occupation
    Consultant
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    TN27 0JW

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  1. Well, agreed, but at the same time I am happy for tree surgeons to venture into "consultancy" provided they have the necessary experience and training and know what they are doing to produce reports of adequate quality. They need to know where they should not venture (i.e. where they are not competent). Professional bodies can assist the public in such differentiation & explaining and marketing those differences. But they don't help too much in explaining that a tree surgeon who can provide an adequate BS5837 tree survey for a domestic property may not be able to cover much more complex projects. Ah, but they are practising this magical art of "consultancy" (which is just a contractual arrangement in these modern business times, not a grade or mark of distinction) so they can do everything "consultancy". No they can't, & no I can't. The ICF is very Scotland focused and very forestry focused; it's trying it's best not to be, but is.
  2. The basic problem is thinking that there is something called "consultancy"; you have to be a consultant in something. There are few people that can handle everything that is covered by the word "arboriculture". You can get a job as a "consultant" with no experience! Some disciplines are are worse than others - ecology for example. Clearly, if as an arboricultural consultant you are specifying works to be undertaken by a tree surgeon it does help a lot if you have some experience of tree surgery! If you are specifying time and money, even more essential to have real experience of what it takes. I don't think it helps by using labels such as "academic". There are virtually no academics in arboriculture! A good consultant has both experience and relevant training; preferably the training comes before the experience, as the experience brings a lot of learning too, building on concepts and background skills developed during training but those with experience can gain a lot from training but it may be harder to learn if you've lost the skills to learn from books and writing essays etc. Consultants (of any background) with no or little relevant experience can cause problems; my classic one, provided to me in fiver Lever Arch files shortly before mediation which cost the insurance company not much less than £300k was a tree surgeon telling a tree owner that their property might suffer from heave......oh dear. I wonder how little experience of heave he had, but luckily for him he was not sued as we just dismissed his report as sub-professional. Unfortunately, the tree owner had not done the same. Tree surgeons in a court? Depends in what capacity. As a witness of fact, no problem, just as any member of the public might need to do. As an expert witness? I would steer any tree surgeon to appropriate training prior to this, even if they are reporting on an area (such as a work place accident) they know well. If they move onto risk assessment, valuation, subsidence, soil mechanics (e.g. heave) or a whole range of arboricultural subject areas they know nothing about (no training, no experience) they should not even think about it. The simple answer when approached is No!
  3. Jules I am not clear what you are saying & if you are not agreeing, you must be disagreeing.....I am just not clear what it is you are disagreeing with! "subsuming tree consultancy into the ICF": I am not at all clear what you are talking about here - arboriculture has been in the ICF since the beginning; the ICF has had a registered consultant scheme for a number of years. I started paying them £50 +VAT a year years ago (10? maybe more). Their website for this service is crap; nothing else to call it. They know it is (& have had plenty of the likes of you telling them for a number of years) & they are in the process of rectifying it. They held two focus group sessions before Christmas to get suggestions on what needs to be done & I hope it will improve sometime in 2021. So anything further you say will be knocking at the proverbial open door......
  4. Jules You seem to be agreeing that there are a variety of words used to describe people who make a living out of trees and know something about trees & quite a bit of confusion? You suggest it is "easily" sorted out but I expect you have not tried to sort it out (I have!) and it is not at all easy. Lots of different views & people end up in different places, for a variety of different reasons as I tried to explain. A letter to ABI? Crickey, if only it were so easy! Been there, done that. We tried to engage with the mortgage community when we revised the mortgage arboricultural course........the door would not open & they had no interest in what their members were doing, requesting or the sorts of things that arborists (for want of a better all inclusive word) get up to. Wouldn't even read any materials we sent. & if you have an interest at what the ICF is doing about arboriculture you might want to open up your emails & see the special resolution at the forthcoming AGM. Forestry is to be redefined current: Our Charter and the Bylaws the expression “forestry” shall include all aspects of the science, economics, conservation, amenity and art of establishing, cultivating, protecting, managing, harvesting and marketing forests, woodlands, trees, timber and wood. proposed: Our Charter and the Bylaws the expression “forestry” shall include arboriculture and all aspects of the science, economics, conservation, amenity and art of establishing, cultivating, protecting, managing, harvesting and marketing forests, woodlands and trees for economic, environmental or social outcomes So this might be viewed positively to reflect that the charter includes arboriculture or it could be viewed negatively so that "forestry" can be referred to instead of forestry & arboriculture. Take your pick
  5. Paul Good to hear from you; I was trying to be complementary about the AA website! I think the separation of contractors/surgeons from consultants is a fairly easy choice for many people to take. I would have thought that most tree surgeons think they are tree experts (and rightfully so) so I don't think that's a great way forward? They may not be keen to put pen to paper, but that is a different matter. No, Paul, this issue is not about writing a single letter; it is about the industry as a whole getting off and engaging with other professions, the public and the world. The task is huge and the personnel of all organisations change so it is never ending. Convince one person & by the time you revisit they will be gone onto a new job, a new position & you will be faced with another person without the knowledge you imparted to the last.... PS It's easier to be a forester (by the way!). People know what a forester does (well, as much as they need to know).......it's not too much more complicated than the word "tree" for the public so they can say the word too 😉 .
  6. So, they have said what they want, but you disagree with them? You are a "qualified tree surgeon" yet you admit that you do not have the qualifications or experience to undertake what they want. You seem surprised and want to blame the insurer for being a bit vague. I am approached as an arboricultural consultant & expert witness for my advice on a variety of subjects. After a brief conversation, sometimes I say I am not qualified to address the described problem, even though they are looking for an arboricultural consultant and I am one! It's not a problem, unless I do not identify and admit the problem & wander into territories unknown. I recommend others, where appropriate. I will give you two examples: a local authority said they wanted a report from a structural engineer, where a tree was reported to be damaging a nearby wall. The local authority did not say what they wanted the structural engineer to say or report on, so the tree owner asked them to comment on the tree. That, after all, was what the tree owner had contacted the council about. They wanted the tree removed. The structural engineer duly reported, with 95% of his report about the tree; the crack in the wall was only mentioned in passing. A waste of several hundred pounds. The council's arboricultural consultant's report was mostly about the wall, although it was a little more holistic! Lesson learnt: good idea to describe the issue you want someone to consider, rather than just focus on the job title or even profession. A professional will know what they are competent in and what they are not competent in. It's not a problem other than for someone who is looking and cannot find the right person. Second example: an insurer wants a report on someone's medical condition. Does the insurer decide what type of medic they want the report from? They may, if the medical problem is clearly identified. They may not and, annoyingly, having got the report of one medical expert, the insurer says, all well and good, but we want a report from another expert from a different discipline. Expensive. Insurer's fault? Maybe they could have been more precise but the shortcomings of the first expert's report only became known after its receipt. It is unfortunate but maybe no-one is to blame in a complex situation. As for a definition in BS3998.....well BS charging policies mean that such a definition won't be known to many. Back to my original point, if the professional bodies don't continually promote appropriate nomenclature, please don't blame the public (which includes the staff of insurers). We as a profession have chosen to use an unpronounceable word ("I would like to speak to the arb...or....[halt, whilst telephone user focuses on the word arboriculturist to see if they can spit it out. 99/100 fail]. Do we really wonder why someone might use the term "tree surgeon"?
  7. There are a variety of reasons for this mess; one is that our professional bodies (jointly) need to agree on a terminology & then get out there and tell everybody what the difference is between a tree surgeon and a consultant. They haven't & they don't, although the AA's website by itself helps. There is a discussion to be had & I've been in previous discussions which tend to go not very far. So the AA had "tree contractors" for a long time as their main brand. Luckily someone eventually woke up to the reality that Yellow Pages (as it was) was not interested in changing their listings for "Tree Surgeons" into Arborists or Arboriculturists or something even more obscure e.g. Arboriculturalists & the AA now uses Tree Surgeons. That's one step forward! However, they are still "Approved Contractor" if they get through the AA's accreditation. Just to confuse matters, the ICF is considering a "Technical" membership grade (discussions still continuing) which will confuse matters further. So please don't blame insurance companies for the mess of training levels, courses, job titles, accreditation that arboriculture and forestry have created and continue to propagate. People don't want to know that some people think that a consulting arborist is different from an arboricultural consultant. Or that an arborist differs from a tree surgeon. A member of the public needs to speak to someone about their tree? Yell.com shows "Tree Surgeons" ....stick arboriculture or tree consultants into their search box and you get.....tree surgeons. That's why I don't advertise on Yell.com any more because I get phone calls from people who want.....tree surgeons! Google does help a bit in allowing differentiation but with tree surgeons offering "consultancy" services things can go around in circles!
  8. Aviva clearly has been sloppy in their wording. Do they want an inspection of the building or an inspection of the trees? Or both? It's fraught with difficulties (i.e. risk) but most likely will come to nothing (you won't be sued).....so let me tell you what I would do if I was asked to attend the site and charge them several hundred pounds? I would record each tree, its size, its potential size and its distance from the property. I would need to look at the structure of the building in terms of its design and whether this was susceptible to subsidence or not (have I seen this before, after 1000+ subsidence cases). Clay soil or not? There is probably some degree of risk regardless of facts, but what are you going to recommend? If you don't know what you are doing you may recommend removal of all trees close by. If you have some experience, you might say relax, there is a degree of risk & that is precisely why you take out insurance - there's a risk and you pay the insurance company to worry about it. Based on your visit, the policy holder has done precisely what they have been asked to do and you have told them that no tree works are required. If they don't require anything in writing, even better; just record that you have attended site and recommended no tree work. Give no more details. The more you give, the more risk you take, & then come on my training course with the CAS when we are back to normal & you can learn more!
  9. I'm not answering the question, but I can say that Kirklees showed beyond reasonable doubt that they need to pull their socks up! Their note 2 of the Decision Notice was out of order in 2012, let alone in 2021......simply outrageous to be so out of date and mislead applicants in that way.
  10. Replanting can be enforced, but the tree officer has to be switched on; what evidence do they have of a protected tree? If there is a large stump, clearly there is evidence of a protected tree. The council can serve a replanting notice & they could prosecute too.....but the area order does not help as it can be vague.
  11. I hope you have the TPO plan with associated schedule? I hope you are clear that there is no other TPO lurking in the background that you are not aware of? If the schedule of the TPO lists no individual trees T1 etc, no groups G1 etc, no woodlands W1 etc then I assume you are left with one or more areas A1 etc. Each should have a description of what is covered within each group. Trees that are younger than the date the order are served are not covered by the area designation; nor are trees planted since then. I am not sure what you mean by "outside of the TPOd area but within the new boundary". If they are outside of the areas shown on the TPO plan they are not protected. What is the relevance of the "boundary"? Once a tree is dead its removal becomes an exception to the TPO - it can be removed without seeking permission from the council. However, you need to read s206 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 - (search for "What are the considerations relating to the duty to replace trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order outside woodland?" on gov.uk) & you will see that there may be a duty to replant. The difficulty for the council is that if they have no record of the tree being there in the first place (because it is an area order) they may find it difficult to enforce the lack of replanting.
  12. Oh dear! What a big mouth! Especially when he is wrong! I have his report that he mentions & it may come back to haunt him.....& suddenly after a few days in the "jungle" he has become an expert on Sumatra. I wonder if Mr F-L could tell us how many felling licences he has successfully applied before he came across this one? He might discover an awful similarity in wording between the one he quotes from & criticises & the one the "little guy" gets given. Don't mention the TPO to the FC & the FL doesn't cover exemption from the TPO. That's why it says it across the front page of the licence! Nothing special there. I wonder how many words of Indonesian he knows? How much he knows about Indonesian forest policy? Well I first went to Sumatra in 1979 & worked in the Ministry of Forestry in Jakarta (Manggala Wanabakti) on and off between 1994 and 2010 or so (I need to check my cv for the precise details). Who was my main client....the European Commission. Does EU policy lead to unintended consequences? I'm sure it does but really the EU has become a bit of side issue in Indonesia. Japanese demand for plywood was a much more significant force in logging Indonesian forests starting in the 1960s, through the 1970s, 1980s & 1990s, taken over by the much greater demand by China for everything from 2000 or so. Oil palm does of course get into many products & demand for oil palm underpins the desire to turn degraded forest into oil palm plantations......but most of lowland Sumatra had been logged by the time Yves Laumonier wrote his book "The Vegetation and Physiography of Sumatra" in 1997. It was then logged & logged again corruptly and illegally and only then, assisted by the likes of APP (Asia Pulp & Paper - look it up!) remaining forest land was cleared with the logs disappearing into pulp and cheap photocopy paper that YOU may have unwittingly bought. Oil palm conversion really is at the end of the long process of converting high quality "orang hutan" habitat ; clearly orang hutan have retreated into whatever habitat is left for them, mostly highly degraded forest. I suggest you look up Harapan on the RSPB website ......it's a good example of what can be done with rainforest adjacent to the oil palm plantations. The oil palm provides jobs & economic development taking the pressure OFF the forest.
  13. You are right that the table is based on mid length diameter & therefore is really only appropriate for a log that is on the ground but it will give you a rough idea of volume.
  14. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/826786/TimberVolumeCalculator.pdf I need to check the precise terminology but it is the volume of timber that is of interest, not the volume of wood. Branches are mostly irrelevant. You therefore need to consider small end diameter and the larger it is, the smaller the volume of timber for any particular tree. You would not be expected to get it to the nearest cm cubed and a rough calculation based on the shown calculator should be sufficient. My reading of the table is that they might say one large poplar tree could be more than 5 cubic metres.
  15. I will have to look at the specifics of the last one I did, but not so much a condition as a bloody big label on the front page stating the same. You would either have to be blind or have the backing of an AA Registered Consultant who tells you that a felling licence "trumps" a TPO (I'm not jesting) to think you have permission to fell, when you do not.

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