Putting tree risk into perspective.
A neat and easy to understand relative risk came up in Tim Harford’s marvellous Cautionary Tales - The Spreadsheet of Life and Death. Driving for 200 miles (320km) has a risk of death of about one in a million (1 micromort).
We know the overall risk of death from branches or trees falling each year is less than one in a million (less than 1 micromort).
That means you’re exposing yourself to a higher risk of dying by travelling in a car on a 200 miles round trip to visit friends for the weekend, than you are being hit by a branch or tree over the whole of a year.
Duty holders who don't have a strategy explaining how they manage the risk from tree failure are vulnerable to legal claims or enforcement action. Even though we know the overall risk of death or serious injury from tree failure is extremely low, a number of recent Coroner's Inquests from around the world have highlighted why having a strategy in place is so important.
Death on the highway, from the Arboricultural Association's Arb Magazine (Summer 2020), takes a closer look at the importance of Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategies to the duty holder.
Here's a LinkedIn article about the landmark Cavanagh v Witley Parish Council Judgment. It explores the gulf between reasonable, proportionate, and reasonably practicable tree risk assessment and management, and expert evidence in some UK court Judgments.
Poll v Bartholomew 2006
Every summer, when we get long hot dry periods, concern is often raised about the risk from Summer Branch Drop (SBD). Fear not. We’ve got the risk management of SBD covered for you in our free Summer Branch Drop (SBD) Guide.
Is this SBD?
In brief, the overall risk from SBD is mind-boggling low. What that means is there’s no need to fret about putting up signs, or fencing, or pruning, unless you have a tree that’s a repeat offender.
Have a look at our Risk Management page for lots more free and handy common sense tree risk management advice and help.
When a tree might be 'dangerous'*, it'll usually have obvious features (not tree defects) that you can't help but notice.
To help you spot trees that might be dangerous, here's an illustrated Obvious Tree Risk Features Guide for you to download.
We're a not-for-profit and this is released under a creative commons licence, so we're more than happy for you to share it around.
*Dangerous = where the risk is not Acceptable or Tolerable.
A short piece about why we shouldn't use 'risk of harm' when talking about tree risk.
The risk of harm?
'Tree Defect' no longer appears in any of VALID's Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategies.
Want to know why we're 'ditching the defect' here, and the App is going to have a ? added to D for DEFECT? Click the link to this short article to find out.
Taking the 'Defect' out of tree risk-benefit management strategies
Most of the research into ‘Tree Architecture’ (Arboritecture) is from France and Canada. That means it’s published in French, which many of us can’t read. This piece by Tom Joye, in the UK’s Arboricultural Association’s Arb Magazine, is a great introduction to the world of Tree Architecture, and what it can reveal about the ‘development stage’ of a tree. It’ll have you look at growth and epicormic growth in a different way.
Following several requests, there’s now a 'What is VALID?' about on one side of paper. To download it, click the ‘What is VALID?’ link, which is on the footer of each page. It looks like this.
To make good decisions (about tree risk) means that we have to have confidence in what we do know and what we don't know. This double-header about confidence is a great listen from the BBC World Service.
It's probably not much of surprise to find out there's very little overlap between confidence and competence; how good people think they are, and how good they really are.
Confidence: Why it misleads us
But confidence can also be a force for good. Here's how.
Confidence: How it can help us
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