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Accreditation scheme for arborists will drive up standards and assist public

Friday, 28 July 2017

The public will be assisted in choosing skilled contractors to carry out tree felling and maintenance work.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) is to publish a list of companies whose employees hold the International Society of Arboriculture’s Certified Arborist qualification.

To gain this, employees must have at least three years’ full-time experience and/or another appropriate qualification.

They must also pass an exam testing their knowledge of tree biology, species identification and selection, pruning, diagnosis and treatment, and tree risk management.

The creation of an accreditation scheme follows discussions with the industry and complaints from the public about shoddy work, which can be difficult and costly to rectify.

To be eligible for inclusion on DEFA’s list, companies must submit proof that employees work for them and have gained the qualification.

DEFA will publish the list in the tree protection section of once companies begin to sign up.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

‘My Department is asked to recommend contractors for tree felling and maintenance but cannot do so, as it has no objective way of establishing their competence.

‘We are aware of cases where landowners have suffered the consequences of engaging contractors who don’t carry out work to industry best practice. It can be difficult and expensive to put right the damage done by poor pruning, for example.

‘The accreditation scheme will enable the public to have greater confidence that they are engaging someone who is knowledgeable about trees.

‘It will encourage contractors to improve their workforce’s competency and gain the qualification.

‘Through the Programme for Government and our Department strategies, we encourage people to appreciate our landscape,’

the Minister said.

‘This scheme will contribute towards safeguarding the amenity value of trees for public enjoyment.’

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