Storms are on the increase and as a consequence we need to be more aware and more prepared for the potential and actual damage that can occur during and after a severe weather event.
We have experienced a number of severe weather events across the UK in the past 2 years, including the ex-hurricane “Ophelia” in October 2017 and more recently Storm Eleanor in January 2018. But how do you distinguish between what would be a ‘severe weather event’ and a gale? Fortunately, the Met Office have allocated a National Severe Weather Warning Service (NSWWS) advising the level of impact the severe weather is like to cause: A yellow warning indicates a low level of impact, an amber warning indicates you should be prepared and a red warning requires you to take action; there’s a danger to life.
With the above in mind, as part of a wider tree management strategy, it is important for land owners and managers to take action following high winds and severe weather to ensure they maintain their legal ‘duty of care’ towards themselves, staff and the general public.
It must be stressed that meeting this ‘duty of care’ does not need to be onerous for the duty holder and the overall risk to human safety from falling trees is extremely low. Perhaps this explains why in many instances, including minor ones, trees causing injury or damage appear to be news-worthy.
Wharton Natural Infrastructure Consultants (WNIC) generally recommend a walk-through Visual Tree Assessment following severe or unexpected weather such as high winds or heavy snow. As part of a wider tree management plan, this approach is both cost-effective for our clients and enables a formal and written record to be made of any damage and what work is recommended.
Our Arboricultural Consultants can help land owners meet their duty of care, working to find a practical and sustainable approach to suit their needs. If you would like more information on how we are able to assist, please get in touch.
Met Office Storm Centre
Met Office advice: Stay safe in a storm