VISUAL TREE ASSESSMENT FOR ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY

Date Completed: 17/08/2016

ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY

Situated within a significant area containing a large number of trees, Aberystwyth University has an obligation under the Occupiers Liability Acts 1957 and 1984 to uphold a ‘duty of care’ to members of the public and others who enter onto, or are within, close proximity to the trees situated upon the public space managed by the University.

Wharton Tree & Ecology Consultants were instructed to undertake a full tree inventory, produce a detailed tree report and site management plan.

THE BRIEF

  • Discuss access details and agree the sequence of site visits and exact requirements of the survey, including details to be recorded in the tree schedule and colour palette for survey plans
  • Undertake an inspection of individual and groups of trees across eight sites managed by the University. Trees assessed using the Basic of Professional
    level surveying methodology as set out by LANTRA and visual tree assessment (VTA) methodology (no drilling, excavation or aerial inspections were carried out on this occasion for the purposes of this assessment). All trees to be individually tagged
  • Provide a tree schedule for individual trees and groups including; Location/address, tree number, species (both common and botanical), height (m),
    stem diameter (mm), canopy spread (m) from the four cardinal points, age class, physiological condition, structural condition, target area, comments
    and additional notes, preliminary management recommendations, works priority and re-inspection frequency
  • Provide a tree survey plan for each site location. Trees to be plotted as individuals, groups or hedgerows using GIS mapping software, as accurately
    as practicably possible
  • Provide a tree report collating all recorded assessment information
  • Communicate with Aberystwyth University throughout the assessment informing of any immediate or very high priority tree works to be undertaken.

VISUAL TREE ASSESSMENT

A Health & Safety Visual Tree Assessment was undertaken of eight sites managed by Aberystwyth University including the main Penglais Campus, Botany Gardens, Llanbadarn Campus, Gogerddan Campus, Blaendolau Playing Fields, Vicarage Playing Fields, School of Art Gallery and Museum and wider farmland.

Individual tree and group assessments were carried out across the main campuses; a walk-through assessment was considered more appropriate across agricultural farmland of restricted student/public access. The trees assessed include a vast range of broadleaf and evergreen species predominantly of mixed pine, oak and birch with lesser introduced exotics.

The survey was undertaken using our computerised tree management system to record the data electronically. The exact requirements of the survey were agreed with the University and the attributes tailored to their scenario. All individual trees were visually assessed and groups/woodland areas were walked and mapped with individual trees with defects or requiring works being individually assessed and recorded systematically. For every tree assessed a priority of works was recommended from urgent within 24 hours, to no works being required. In addition to this a frequency of re-inspection was attributed to the trees from immediate due to either the presence of decay or further aerial assessment, through to very low within 5 years. The final two fields of the survey allow for budget to be correctly allocated and proactive management to occur.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The majority of sites assessed across the University identified only routine pruning works recommendations. Urgent and very high priority works were actioned by the University whilst the survey was ongoing.

Following the assessment of trees, a detailed tree management report and plan was prepared with tree schedule and plans of all areas surveyed across the University. This is now a live document and used in order to ensure suitable finances and budgets are in place annually to manage the largest natural asset that the University owns.