Tree reports telling

THERE is good reason for the considerable concern being expressed in this newspaper about the City of Bayswater�s management of its trees.

The City sometimes relies upon a process of assessment identified as Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA) but its use seems somewhat piecemeal and not entirely in accord with published and advocated use.

For example, advocates of its use in its place of origin (the United Kingdom) state, �The condition of the trees should not be the first consideration. Instead, tree managers should consider first the usage of the land on which the trees stand, and in turn this will inform the process of assessing the trees�.

Therefore, it does seem that the kind of management of a tree or trees in forest or bushland or park or other urban settings will be different.

To me that makes sense but in the City I am unsure that the QTRA process is applied in accord with differences in land use. Indeed, the City�s sometime use of the QTRA process is perceived to be putting lives at risk.

I have three City tree assessment reports. Each was obtained through a Freedom of Information application; two only are based on the QTRA process, but none appear to record any consideration of urban land use.

What is clearly demonstrated in them is that in the assessment of a tree, any fallen limbs large enough to injure or kill can be ignored and, apparently, and one supposes, the tree declared safe.

Nothing was recorded that showed consideration of the possible effect of rain on at-risk tree limbs. The added weight must be a consideration.

As well, wind should be factored in because surely winter gales must add to the danger posed by a weightier and overhanging tree limb.

The City reports indicate that fallen limbs can be ignored and even dismissively described as mere �leaf and bark litter�.

That made me wonder about the status of the QTRA process in the City�s administration.

Through another FOI application, I sought to be informed about that status. On October 8, 2014, I was rewarded with a letter that told me that no council minute or policy documents could be found or existed that identified the formal adoption or use of QTRA by the City.

VINCE McCUDDEN, Bayswater.