Another national expert unimpressed with Sheffield’s approach to street trees …… read on!

Another national expert unimpressed with Sheffield’s approach to street trees …… read on!

Brian Crane is an established authority on tree management and he has been considering the latest statements on street trees from Sheffield City Council / AMEY.

I include the notes below merely to establish the depth of experience and credibility of Brian in terms of urban tree management. He has experience in a wide range of landscape posts in both local authority (including Milton Keynes Development Corporation Landscape and Forestry Section) and private employment since 1973, specialising particularly in matters relating to tree and woodland management.

In 1984 he formed the Arboriculture and Amenity Forestry Section at the Capel Manor Institute of Horticulture and Field Studies, Enfield. He lectured on a number of topics, including countryside management and wildlife conservation practice. During this time he carried out arboricultural consultancy work on a part-time basis. In September 1991 he left Capel Manor to devote himself to consultancy work full-time.

He has experience over the full range of arboricultural consultancy work, including planning inquiries, advisory work on individual trees, supervision of civil engineering works, advice to planners and architects, landscape rehabilitation, computerised tree surveys and management and the preparation of management plans, work schedules and specifications. He has represented Clients at High, Magistrates, and County Courts and Public Inquiries in matters related to trees and has considerable experience in arboricultural matters pertaining to both Planning and Development.

In 1991 he was accepted (after examination) as a Registered Consultant of the Arboricultural Association. He writes (irregularly) on arboricultural, landscape and conservation topics for several professional magazines, including Horticulture Week and the Arboricultural Journal. Published articles include works on tree inspection, root damage due to cable installation, hedgerows and avenue management. He has lectured on arboricultural topics in the UK, Sweden, Italy and the Czech Republic.

He was involved with the Hortlink 212 project, part-funded by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, researching the effects of pruning on the water uptake of trees. He is a past member of the governing body of the Greater London Proficiency Testing Council for Horticultural, Arboricultural and Agricultural skills.  He suggested, and  then pioneered the development of post-graduate courses in Arboriculture and Community Forestry with Middlesex University.

He acted as an Consultant Arboricultural Inspector for the Planning Inspectorate in determining Tree Preservation Order Appeals for 15 years.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Fellow of the Linnean Society (FLS),
  • Fellow of the Arboricultural Association (F.Arbor.A.),
  • Member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters  (MIC For)
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture (F CIHort),
  • Professional Member of the Royal Forestry Society.
  • Professional Member of the International Society of Arboriculture.
  • Associate of the London Tree Officers’ Association.
  • Former Registered Forestry Training Council Instructor and Assessor.
  • Former Lead Assessor for the Arboricultural Association Approved Contractor List
  • Assessor for the Arboricultural Association Registered Consultant List
  • In September 1993 he was elected to the National Council of the Arboricultural Association, and is a former member of the Professional Committee of the that body.
  • He is a former Vice-Chairman of the Arboricultural Association. 

‎He is now Principal Consultant at Brian G Crane & Associates, Arboricultural Consultants….. please read his comments and do pass them on!

assessment of tree strategy


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17 Responses to Another national expert unimpressed with Sheffield’s approach to street trees …… read on!

  1. Nimby says:

    Brian’s comment:
    If the firm carrying out the assessments are also the tree works contractors the system is
    fraught with opportunities for abuse. In my experience, tree works contractors wildly overspecify the need for works to trees.

    Reminds me of Internal Drainage Board management service provision writing tenders for engineering contracts which ‘interestingly’ get awarded to ‘linked’ companies and / or

    Natural England undertaking impact assessments when they are the beneficiaries of works.

    A skeptic, or is it realist might ponder potential conflict of interest in all three scenario’s above?

  2. Technotronic says:

    I think Crane’s communication was supposed to be a private, not for publication?

    Really, SCC should be employing competent consultants – not bodging everything up then waiting to see what criticism they get free of charge (they ignore it all anyway). 😦

    With regard to Nimby’s quote, SORT have been saying that since June (the SORT petition hand-out).

    • Nimby says:

      Technotronic – my quote? I quoted from Brian Crane, the rest were simply (3) comments made by me.

      In my experience critical mass and collaborative endeavour generates momentum but apologies if you think I’m treading on SORT’s metaphoric toes or duplicating.

  3. No he was happy for it to be used – otherwise I would not have posted it. Please disseminate widely!

  4. Rich Ward says:

    Hi Ian. I will reblog. I hope that’s ok.

  5. Technotronic says:

    BRITISH STANDARD 5837 (2012):
    “Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction – Recommendations”

    An extract from the Forward to the standard:


    This is a full revision of the standard, and introduces the following principal

    • takes account of current practice regarding planning for the management,
    protection and planting of trees in the vicinity of structures, and for the
    protection of structures near trees;
    • updates the guidance in relation to building regulations;
    • recognizes the contribution that trees make to climate change adaptation.

    This British Standard provide RECOMMENDATIONS AND GUIDANCE FOR ARBORICULTURISTS, architects, builders, ENGINEERS, and landscape architects. It is also expected to be of interest to land managers, contractors, planners, STATUTORY UNDERTAKERS, surveyors, and all others interested in harmony between trees and development in its broadest sense.

    Annex A contains general information which is expected to be of use to
    developers, builders and engineers.


    This British Standard takes the form of guidance and recommendations.
    Any user claiming compliance with this British Standard is expected to be able to
    justify any course of action that deviates from its recommendations.

    It has been assumed in the preparation of this British Standard that the
    execution of its provisions is entrusted to appropriately qualified and
    experienced people, for whose use it has been produced.”

  6. Technotronic says:

    BS5837 & NJUG

    Here is an interesting quote from page 7 of the “Rustlings Road Response” PDF, prepared by Ms Stephanie Roberts of and for the Streets Ahead Customer Services Fulfilment Team, during the afternoon of 8th July 2015:

    “Concerns have been raised about the construction process with regards to the retained trees. We can confirm that all works will be supervised by a qualified arboriculturalist [sic] TO ENSURE NO TREE ROOT DAMAGE OCCURS AS PART OF OUR WORKS. The Streets Ahead team work to National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) regulations and relevant BRITISH STANDARDS FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKS IN THE VICINITY OF TREES and will continue to do so, our inspectors regularly monitor this by carrying out site inspections.”

  7. Technotronic says:

    BS5837: E-mail from the Cabinet Member For Environment & Transport:

    From: To: Xxxx Subject: RE: Arboricultural Method Statement Date: Tue, 8 Dec 2015 17:20:29 +0000

    Dear Xxxx
    Thank you for your enquiry seeking clarification around Amey’s arboricultural method statements for compliance with NJUG and BS5837 for excavations around trees.
    In response to the questions raised:

     I can confirm that Amey’s arboricultural method statement exists to ensure compliance with both BS 5837 and NJUG standards.

     With regards to your reference to the street lighting sub-contractor working with mechanical plant under the canopy of a highway tree, all Amey operatives, as well as all their supply chain partners carrying out excavations in the highway have all received a series of practical “tool box talks” refresher sessions on NJUG and BS 5837 standards.

    Yours sincerely
    Cllr Terry Fox

  8. Technotronic says:

    BS5837: E-mail from Streets Ahead

    In an e-mail (Ref: 101002358788) dated 8th January, 2016 (Appendix 19), sent in response to a complaint made on 9th December, 2015 (Appendix 19), Streets Ahead Customer Services stated:

    “THE STREETS AHEAD PROJECT AIMS TO WORK TO BEST INDUSTRY PRACTISE AND GUIDELINES in all working sectors, including when working in the vicinity of highway trees.”

    “In fact, we intend to expand the concept with a series of workshops starting in January 2016 looking at improving our processes and BUILDING ON industry good practise.”

  9. Technotronic says:

    BS5837: E-mail from SCCs David Caulfield (responsible for ALL arboricultural aspects of highway maintenance)

    David Caulfield’s response (see Appendix 22) to the question:

    “Can you provide evidence of the use of National Best Practice?”:

    “Yes, we can evidence use of NBP across the whole contract”

    • Technotronic says:


      Findings from Forest Research (The Research Agency of the Forestry Commission):

      “1. Street trees are a distinct component of urban forests providing particular benefits and interacting with people and communities in distinct ways.

      2. The number of street trees in the urban environment is not increasing rapidly enough, large valuable trees are being lost, and street trees are unevenly distributed across the UK’s urban areas.

      3. Street trees are removed mostly in response to health and safety concerns, but also new development and fears of subsidence, and a lack of resources with which to obtain
      appropriate knowledge contributes strongly to this loss.

      4. Street trees can posses a range of social and cultural values, relating to aesthetics, safety, community, business and history. However, it is unlikely that research to date has revealed the full range of values.”
      (Dandy, 2010, p. 3)

      Dandy, N., 2010. Climate change and street trees project – The social and cultural values, and governance, of street trees. [Online] Available at:$FILE/CCST_Social_Report_March2010.pdf [Accessed 9 March 2014].

  10. Technotronic says:


    The appendices referred to above are found in the SORT letter to Cllr Fox (the Nether Edge petition hand-out that was distributed to every Councillor in the city):

    If there are any other AA consultants out there, or Chartered Arboriculturists, I think it would be of HUGE benefit if, rather than, or in addition to, releasing personal opinions, you all work together to prepare a JOINT STATEMENT, for presentation to Sheffield City Council.

    All help is much appreciated. However, please read the SORT letter before commenting, to ensure that your comments further the cause for responsible, sustainable tree population management, WITHOUT hindering progress toward that aim. It s better to be informed than not, so as to maximise opportunity and benefit.

  11. Technotronic says:


    Highway Tree Advisory Forum panel “expert” – Prof Nigel Dunnett has commented:

    “…the reality is that an increasingly volatile and extreme climate poses severe challenges, particularly in urban areas, where the economic impact may be highest.
    However, tinkering around at the edges with the odd bit of innovative green here and there is not going to do the job. Proper climate change adaptation needs wholesale, radical greening. Not just a few more street trees, but complete green streets that deal with excess rainwater, shade, habitat and human well-being, for example.”


    You may not realise it, but what Prof Dunnett describes is URBAN FORESTRY.
    🙂 🙂

  12. Bog-trotter says:

    Sheffield’s trees mentioned on Avery’s blog – well done Pip Howard, Ian & fellow campaigners. That’ll raise profile as it is read by various Govt. Depts. 😉

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