Learning at Work

Understanding Trees, Property and Liability

Trees apart from their visual and environmental contribution can also contribute to concerns for property owners and surveyors. This course looks at the conditions that give rise to tree problems, examines the specific circumstances in which tree damage occurs and reviews the case law with regard to both damage and the owner’s duty of care. Most importantly it includes a tour of the trees looking at species and the common problems that they pose.

Founded in 1759 Kew Gardens is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kew has the largest, most diverse collections of living and preserved botanical specimens in the world. Kew contains a vast collection of over 14,000 trees.

The course covers:

  • soil conditions and subsidence
  • circumstances in which tree related damage occurs
  • BS 5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – recommendations’
  • liability and key cases: tree related damage; the owners duty of care
  • tour of trees covers identification, suitability for use in the built environment, and problems and the management of risk

Tony Kirkham is Head of Arboretum at Kew but is better known as the presenter of the BBC2 programmes A Year at Kew and The Trees that Made Britain. He holds the RHS award of Associate of Honour for services to horticulture.

Martin Dobson is the principal of Martin Dobson Associates. He deals with planning and TPO applications and appeals, subsidence investigations, tree surveys and tree hazard assessments together with providing an Expert Witness service.

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Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboretum, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Martin Dobson BSc DPhil FArborA, Martin Dobson Associates


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew


Wednesday 15 May 2019, 1:50pm–5:10pm

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