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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, as anyone can call themselves a tree surgeon. 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, National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) certificates are essential for chainsaw work. Other qualifications, such as a national certificate or diploma, aren't essential, but they identify those tree surgeons with more than just a practical knowledge
  • do they work to recognised national standards? All tree work should be carried out to British Standard 3998
  • 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 two main professional organisations are the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Arboricultural Association (AA). Both websites include a list of their members. You may also want to consult our own approved list of contractors.

We offer a leaflet giving more information on how to choose a good tree surgeon. If you need further advice you're welcome to contact our tree officers.