LANDOWNERS and estate managers are becoming more aware of the potential risk posed by trees on their ground – and being more proactive in the management of veteran tree stocks.

Rural property consultancy CKD Galbraith has reported a surge in the number of tree survey reports conducted by their forestry team throughout 2016, as they have advised clients on woodland management across the whole of Scotland.

An owner of land on which a tree stands has responsibilities for balancing the environmental and amenity value of trees with the health and safety of those on or near the land and has potential liabilities arising from the falling of a tree or branch. It is a requirement under legislation to have a suitable and sufficient tree risk assessment in place, and to apply reasonable and workable measures where necessary.

The CKD forestry team has recently been working with Dallas Estate in Moray to produce a tailored tree safety strategy to identify areas requiring assessment and prioritising these into risk zones. The estate wanted to take a proactive approach to managing the large number of mature trees it had in close proximity to public roads and estate owned properties.

The first survey identified over 100 trees where work was required, and this was arranged and carried out over a period of three years using a local contractor. Annual surveys continue to be carried out to ensure the trees continue to be proactively managed as they naturally decline and die.

Louise Alexander, a senior forest manager based in the firm’s Inverness office, said: “Tree safety is of paramount importance and those with responsibility for trees on their land must ensure adequate risk assessments are carried out on a regular basis. This is true not only as a safety measure but to ensure future generations can enjoy the legacy left to Scotland by the Victorian tree planters who created the many magnificent forests and parklands that remain in existence today.”