Tree surgeons

When you need a tree surgeon (arborist), it can be difficult to know where to start. Tree surgeons advertise like any business. However, an advert is not a guarantee of competence or safety. To be sure you employ the right tree surgeon, you need to ask a few questions:

  • Do they have adequate insurance? At least £2 million public liability insurance or £5 million in high-risk areas is recommended
  • Do they have adequate training and qualifications? For example, qualifications meeting the Trees and Timber National Occupational Standards from recognised awarding organisations such as City and Guilds (formerly NPTC) or LANTRA are essential for chainsaw and other elements of arboricultural work.
  • Other qualifications, such as a (higher) national certificate or diploma, or a degree aren't essential, but they identify those arborists with more than a practical knowledge
  • Do they work to recognised national standards? All tree work should be carried out to British Standard 3998 – Tree Work – Recommendations
  • Are they a member of a professional organisation? Not all competent tree surgeons are members of a professional organisation, although you can expect those who are to carry out work to a high standard

The three main forestry and arboriculture professional organisations are the Arboricultural Association (AA), the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) and the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Their websites include lists of approved contractors and registered consultants (please see Related information).

If you need further advice you're welcome to contact us.

Find out more about reporting tree issues.