June 21, 2008

Proposal Would Require Tree Inspections

Homeowners in England could be forced to pay a specialist to regularly examine trees in their yards under a national proposal being considered.

The British standard for tree safety inspection would require tree owners to have an annual walk-by inspection and get their trees checked by a trained person every three years, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

A more in-depth inspection would be required every five years, the newspaper said.

We issue standards in all sorts of areas, including businesses such as estate agents. We hope to issue the standard early next year and everyone is able to comment on the draft up until July 31, a spokesman for the British Standards Institution, which oversees building and engineering regulations.

If the proposal becomes law, tree owners would be required to pay for the inspections.

The Risk and Regulation Advisory Council, a watchdog group, said the risk posed by trees did not warrant a national inspection effort.

This is a perfect example of how the pressure to regulate to minimize public risk can lead to wholly undesirable outcomes if left unchallenged, said Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite.