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How to select an Arboricultural Contractor

An Arboricultural Contractor, sometimes described as an 'Arboriculturist, 'Arborist or 'Tree Surgeon', will undertake tree work to a specification.

  • Get at least two written quotes or estimates and be aware that the lowest price may not be the best one.

  • Contractors may say they are members of a trade association. Check if they are! The Arboricultural Association produces a list of approved contractors, |view their web page here.

  • Avoid contractors who use the words 'lopping', 'topping', and 'crowning'. These are not modern arboricultural terms and are vague and open to wide interpretation.

  • Elmbridge Borough Council does not endorse any tree contractors or consultants, however the Council offers a |list of contractors and a |list of consultants that work in the area on a without prejudice basis.

  • Using our Tree Preservation Order search you can download copies of original TPO documents or |check if your tree is protected.

  • Many reputable contractors cover large areas of the country but you should generally avoid 'door knockers' who often claim that your tree is dangerous and needs urgent works.

  • The contractor should provide proof of at least 2 million Public Liability Insurance cover.

  • When undertaking any works the contractor should observe the upper parts of the tree(s) and notify the client of any symptoms of disease, decay or structural weakness.

  • Any tree contractor you employ should be able to produce a certificate of competence or national competence award. The National Proficiency Test Council (NPTC) is the most usual certificate. Most contractors holding this certificate will have an identity card, which has a photograph and a list of the units of competence passed.

  • Reputable contractors have got nothing to hide and will be happy to answer all of your questions.

  • Once you have selected a contractor, ensure that you have written confirmation of the work to be carried out and the agreed sum. Ensure that the work includes the removal of all arisings from the site.

  • When carrying out works, the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 and all other legislation covering the protection of wildlife must be observed.

  • All tree works should be undertaken by a specialist contractor in accordance with British Standard 3998:2010 'Recommendations for Tree Works'.

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