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Tree Life Short Courses

Site: Tree Life Training Portal
Course: Tree Life Demonstration Course
Book: Tree Life Short Courses
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Date: Wednesday, 20 October 2021, 8:27 PM

Short Course Dates

2021 Dates:


15 July 2021 Mortgage Report Writing Course Online



26 October 2021 BS5837 Course

27 October 2021 Tree Risk Management

28 October 2021 Fungi Course

3 November 2021 Tree Strategy Workshop

23 November 2021 BS5837 Course

24 November 2021 Subsidence Workshop


Burrough Court

20 October 2021 PTI Refresher

Possible Future Courses

If you are interested in attending an Expert Witness Workshop, please let us know as we hope to run one in future.

Tree Strategy Workshop

Cost: £180 + VAT

Venue: The Tree Life Training Centre, Syston, Leicestershire

Times: 9.00 - 4.30

Does this course qualify for CPD: Yes

The aim: to write a Good Tree Strategy that can become Policy

Workshop overview

My experience of 41 years in arboriculture and 25 years of teaching professional diploma level tells me that the arboricultural industry is not good at writing strategic documents to become policy and carrying out performance management. Generally Tree Officers don’t know what a good tree strategy is or how to produce one. It is not their fault because, on the whole, they have not been taught the skills and knowledge to be able to write one. Many tree strategies in my experience sit on the shelf not in use or are unusable or have not become implemented as policy. Importantly the tree officer should not be the sole author of a tree strategy but the facilitator to the production. Understanding what a strategy is and what is policy is vital to the success of the implementation of a tree strategy long term.

Generally most arboriculturists are not familiar with tree life span and can’t be expected to be due to a short human life span compared to trees. The Victorians left a legacy of trees that are enjoyed and valued today. However, this legacy is deteriorating and being threatened by climate change and pests and diseases. The arboriculturists of today are the first to experience the reality of sustaining and enhancing what was created by great foresight well before their life time. To realise what resilience and sustainability means and to ensure the best value is made of tree management heading towards 2100, or at least for the current generation of Tree Officers, a strategy to become policy is required for each village, town and city if tree cover and its values are not to diminish.

The three pieces of the puzzle from an organisation’s perspective are:
Where are we now?
Where are we going?
How will we get there?

Strategic planning involves outlining an organisation's purpose, goals and the methods that will be used to accomplish those goals. The situation in Sheffield has highlighted a significant issue of communication and lack of trust between parties.

How a strategy is put together and who by is critical to it becoming policy and this requires wider skills than just one person has. Becoming policy adopted at an executive level in an organisation is crucial to a strategies implementation and review of progress. Having measurable aspects set within a strategy is key to the success of achieving the goals set.

Trees are a long-term investment; a strategy must allow for change in direction if, and when, needed. London plane trees are clearly under threat, how significant is that threat? Should replacement planting be like for like? How can the same or enhanced ecosystem benefits be realised in the future, these questions equate to the three pieces of the puzzle.

The workshop would primarily offer a list of contents and justification for their inclusion along with how to go about the task with a tree officer as a facilitator to the production of a strategy to be adopted at executive level and become policy.

One of the necessary skills to writing a good strategy is the incorporation of measurable aspects i.e., SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) and performance indicators. The writing of which is a skill in itself. Many current strategies do not have these essential items and are therefore let down badly when it comes to assessing how the implementation of a strategy is progressing. The second goal of the workshop will be exercises in writing SMART objectives and performance indicators. Thoughts on sustainability, resilience to climate change and pest and disease and how these can feature in a strategy will conclude the day.


Workshop aims: At the end of the day the candidates will be able to:

  • Distinguish between what is a strategy and what is a policy document
  • Understand that the tree officer should only be a facilitator to the writing of a strategy
  • Understand who are the shareholders
  • Know what the possible contents of a strategy could be
  • Know the importance of having measurable items in a strategy
  • Be able to write SMART objectives and performance indicators
  • Understand the need for resilience in a tree population

9.00-9.30 - Coffee and arrival

9.30-10.00 - Introduction (what is a strategy? what is a policy?)

10.00- 11.00 - Presentation (Strategy construction)

11.00-11.15 - Coffee and biscuits

11.15-12.00 - Strategy construction continued

12.00-1.00 - Writing SMART objectives and performance indicators

1.00-1.45 - Lunch

1.45-30.00 - Writing SMART objectives and performance indicators

3.00-3.15 - Tea and biscuits

3.15-3.45 - Strategy integration with national and local plans

3.45-4.30 - Thoughts on sustainability, resilience to climate change and pests and diseases and how these can feature in a strategy.

4.30 Depart - safe journey home

Professional Tree Inspection Course

Tree Life PTI Course Cost: £450 + Vat (£540.00 including Vat) Includes test & workbooks from Lantra

Location: Burrough Court | Burrough-on-the-Hill | Melton Mowbray | Leicestershire | LE14 2QS

Total number of learners accepted for each course: 6 due to coronavirus safety procedures

Note: If you wish to take just the exam as a re-take then please contact the office

Format of the course:

The three-day course aims to provide specific tree inspection programme at an advanced level for competent arboriculturists to enable them to reach a level of competence that can be recognised as having received adequate training.

Candidates are required to inspect trees and specify the necessary remedial works and record the inspection process. This would then form part of a defensible system. The course is not aimed at covering report writing however, presentation of findings will be examined and advice given.

Pre-requisites for the course:

As a pre-requisite of attending the course it is fully expected that you will have a detailed knowledge of tree biology, the tree as an undamaged self-optimised structure, biological and mechanical weaknesses, pathology, legislation, remedial options and their likely implications and the British Standard 3998 Recommendations for Treework. Also any other specific arboricultural knowledge such as may affect detection and measurement of tree defects and recommendation of control measures that reduce the risk posed to an acceptable level. This course is designed as a competency based course and pre-requisites for the course is a minimum of arboricultural qualification at level three or equivalent, plus five years experience in carrying out tree survey and inspection, is expected. ​

It is also an opportunity for candidates to update their level of knowledge and its application to inspecting trees particularly if that previous knowledge was gained sometime ago.


The objectives of the course will be assessed, by written question paper, fungi identification and practical tree inspection. At the end of the course candidates will undertake a competence based assessment directly related to tree inspection. The pass mark for the test is 70% overall and 70% in each of the two tree inspections.

For more information please contact Keely on 01162 606939


please note if you require a retake then please contact the office

PTI Courses: prices before VAT
Additional information

Professional Tree Inspection Refresher

Price: £180 including VAT

Location: Burrough Court | Burrough-on-the-Hill | Melton Mowbray | Leicestershire | LE14 2QS

Total number of learners accepted for each course: 6 due to coronavirus safety procedures

Note:  This is not the PTI Retake. To retake the PTI Exam, please contact the office.

For information on our one-day PTI Refresher Course, please contact the office. 

BS5837:2012 One Day Workshop

Cost: £150 + Vat, includes templates and workbook notes.

Venue: The Tree Life Training Centre, Syston, Leicestershire

Times: 9.30 - 4.30

Total number of learners accepted for each course: 6

Does this course qualify for CPD: Yes

The aim of the course:

is to provide a program that allows attendees to go away with sufficient working knowledge of BS 5837 in relation to :

  • Undertaking a tree survey
  • Determining a category of tree retention
  • Identifying the preliminary constraints posed by trees and preparing an initial statement of arboricultural impacts
  • Producing an Arboricultural Impact Assessment
  • Producing a Tree Protection Plan and an Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS)
  • Each candidate will be provided with templates and other relevant information which they can take away on disk


it is essential that attendees come with a laptop computer, coloured pencils, drawing compass and a scale rule. A copy of BS5837 with you would also assist you on the day.

A Guide to the day:

the day will start with an in depth look at the use of BS 5837 and progress through the preparation of a plan showing the constraints posed by trees, an arboricultural impact assessment, a draft tree protection plan and discussion on a final development design for a real site. After lunch the candidates will prepare an AMS and a tree protection plan appropriate to their final design with the guidance of the course tutor.

Included in the course: templates and workbook for candidates to take away to help them complete BS5837 reports on their own.


A Certificate of Attendance will be provided

Subsidence Investigation Workshop

Cost: £130 + Vat

Venue: Tree Life Training Centre, Braemar Court, 1319 Melton Road, Syston, Leicestershire LE7 2EN.

Times: 9.30 - 4.30


Aim of the course:

The aim of the course is to provide a programme that allows Arboricultural attendees to go away with sufficient understanding of how a claim to fell a tree implicated in subsidence should be processed in relation to:

  • Understanding the insurance prospective
  • Undertaking a desk top study of available data
  • Data interpretation
  • Making a site visit
  • Mitigating the damage caused
  • The programme will cover the following issues:
  • Subsidence a persistent problem
  • What is Heave
  • Preliminary actions in an alleged case of subsidence
  • Diagnosing subsidence problems
  • Trees and desiccation
  • Subsidence monitoring
  • Interpretation of laboratory and monitoring results
  • Mitigating subsidence damage in relation to tree works

Each candidate will be able to take away with them a template that can be used to methodically work through a claim and allow conclusions to be drawn and thereafter can present these to other parties such as LA solicitors as a means of seeking a permanent solution to the claim.

Included in the course: templates and workbook for candidates to take away to help them complete Subsidence reports on their own.

A Certificate of Attendance will be provided

Mortgage Report Writing Course

Cost: £140.00+Vat includes templates and workbook notes

Venue: Tree Life Training Centre, Syston, Leicestershire

Online Course Available: via Microsoft Teams. Cost: £108.00 including VAT

Course aims:

Examine the information required to enable an effective analysis to be made of the risk posed to property by woody vegetation growing within influencing distance for the purposes of a house purchaser who requires to obtain a mortgage or insurance.

Evaluate what level of information is required and to identify sources of information in order to complete a report that is appropriate to the client needs.

To construct a report based on a prediction of the potential for woody vegetation to cause indirect and direct damage to a property and one that protects the author from possible legal proceedings.

The course tutor will provide guidance at each stage of the information gathering and report construction and you will receive a completed report at the end of the day to use as a template if desired.

Course outcome:

Candidates can source appropriate information in order to write a good report that informs the client appropriately whilst protecting the report author. Course notes and other useful material will be provided in a course handbook.

Course requirements:

Essential – Writing materials, a good understanding of the inter-relationship between shrinkable clay soils, built structures, water movement in soils and uptake by woody vegetation. A minimum level 3 (NQF) Arboricultural qualification

Desirable – Reference books related to direct and indirect damage.

Included in the course: templates and workbook.

Fungi 'recognition & response' 1 Day Course

Cost: £120 + Vat

Venue: The Tree Life Training Centre, Syston, Leicestershire

Times: 9.30 - 4.00

Does this course qualify for CPD: Yes

Reasons for the course:

  • Fungi are interesting to people for a variety of reasons:-
  • Perhaps they like to eat them
  • they may be interested in them for the wildlife they support
  • more likely it is because some of them help trees fall over
  • so your interest may be culinary
  • it may be ecological
  • but it is probably more likely to be primarily legal!

Fungi represent a huge variety in terms of size, shape, colour, appearance, texture, and more importantly in their strategies and the types of decay they cause.

It is essential, particularly in this litigious day and age, that anyone who owns or is responsible for trees, whether that be working on them or offering professional advice about them, has sufficient knowledge to be able to recognise fungi and decide on the appropriate action.

So what does this course offer?

  • guidance on the recognition of fungal fruiting bodies
  • knowledge of the way they gain access to their hosts
  • an understanding of their life cycles
  • an awareness of what they are doing inside the tree
  • the ability to reach sensible conclusions as to their significance.

Is this course for you?

If you can answer yes to any of the following questions then our answer to you is 'yes'

  • do you climb trees for a living and want to be sure they’ll take your weight?
  • do fungi simply fascinate you and you wish you knew more about them?
  • do people ask you "what's that and what's it doing to my tree?"
  • do you know a little but wish you knew more?
  • did you perhaps learn about them years ago, and want to refresh your knowledge?
  • do you offer advice, however simple, to any of your customers about fungi and sometimes feel a little out of your depth?


A Certificate of Attendance will be provided

Tree Risk Management Training Day

 The aim of the training day is to provide a program that allows candidates to go away with sufficient working knowledge to compile a strategy and start the processes of implementing a Tree Risk Management Strategy within their organisation or for an organisation where a strategy does not exist.

The day will utilise up to date information from organisations such as the National Tree Safety Group, Health and Safety Executive, research groups such as the Centre for Decision Analysis and Risk Management, consultants, court precedent, statute law and other relevant sources to provide guidance and advice on the formation of a strategy of tree risk management that is appropriate for the level of risk that exists with trees.


The information presented should ensure that the candidate can, with the aid of a template, prepare a risk management strategy that identifies the requirements of such a document e.g. strategy formation, zoning, inspection regimes, inspector qualifications, data collection, record keeping processes and prioritisation needs etc.


Tree Life has been involved with writing and overseeing strategy production for a number of large organisations in the UK including Local Authorities and private organisations. With one particular organisation the system in place has been tested in court and stood up to scrutiny confirming the relevance of our work. The other side of putting a system in place is the examination of a system when things go wrong – in these matters Tree Life have a had a good deal of experience. This work assists us to improve our advice and to know what a good system requires.


In evaluating the requirements of a system, we have bench marked our work against the better local authorities and other large organisations to ensure that what we advocate is consistent with the standards of our industry.


Each candidate will be provided with templates and other relevant information which they can take away.


A second training day run consecutively will give the attendee the option to examine audit processes that allows a manager of a tree risk management system to go away with sufficient understanding of internal audit processes and what aspects require to be examined in the audit process. See separate details.

Expert Witness insight day for Arboriculturists

Expert advice and evidence can be crucial to the outcome of a court case. Many consultants operating as experts have no experience or formal training in this area of work and thus are unprepared for what lies ahead in terms of report writing, the Civil and Criminal Procedure Rules (CPR), court procedure and cross examination by a barrister in an adversarial system.

This day is designed to provide a highly qualified specialist in the field of arboriculture with an insight into:

·       the English legal system

·       court structure

·       the role of the expert witness

·       writing an excellent expert report

·       an understanding of the CPR part 35 as applicable to an expert

·       an expert witness meeting

·       what a judge wants

·       cross examination (practical session)

·       working as a single joint expert

·       the main pitfalls of working as an expert

·       an explanation of terminologies used in expert witness work


Also, to act as preparation for undertaking a recognised qualification in this area of work.

Being a good expert witness is an additional skill required to that of simply being a good arboriculturist, expertise is essential but learning how to use it in the legal arena is extremely important and very different to the everyday work of a consultant. Poor representation can lead to the expert being discredited within their specialist field in quite a public arena and can also lead to a negative effect on the case being heard.


Tree Life pride themselves on providing training of the highest quality based on their educational and arboricultural expertise and experiences combined with that of practicing in the field. The course is to be taught by a qualified teacher, a Cardiff University/Bond Solon (CUEW) qualified expert witness who is also an ICF Chartered Arboriculturist and a Registered Consultant of the Arboricultural Association. The role of the expert is not to ‘win the case’, but to act as an educator for the parties concerned, this aspect is not understood by many acting as experts.


Tree Life regularly provides a range of expert reports for claimants, defendants and enforcement agencies, for example, the Health and Safety Executive covering a range of subjects from subsidence damage, direct damage, injury and death caused by fallen trees/branches and industrial accidents involving chainsaws.


Lord Woolf former Lord Chief Justice and Master of the Rolls has urged that all experts receive training with it being critical to do so. Good solicitors will always look for experts who can demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of Practice Direction 35, Pre-Action Protocols and of the CPRs Part 35 and are able to produce court compliant reports and give evidence in court.


The courses will be held at the Tree Life training centre in Syston, Leicestershire and the price will include teas, coffee, biscuits and a buffet lunch when attending the training centre.


The course will require candidates to submit a report document in answer to a given scenario and a cv 2 weeks in advance of attendance to allow the course tutor to prepare barrister type questions ready for cross examination.


Course outcome


Candidates can appreciate the additional knowledge and skills required to work as an expert witness and decide if the work is for them and if a qualification such as offered by Bond Solon/Cardiff University law school is the next course of action.


Course requirements


Essential – writing materials however, notes of the course material will be provided.


Desirable – a level 6 (or working towards) arboricultural qualification and/or considerable experience in a specialised area of arboriculture e.g. chainsaw operations, tree inspection, subsidence.


NB Candidates need to be prepared to be cross examined in the day based on their work submitted.

Professional Tree Inspection Refresher 1 day programme

This refresher training programme is designed to utilise existing knowledge and information provided as part of the Professional Tree Inspection programme.

The programme is not designed to describe management methods of identifying systems of prioritising the inspection of trees with potential defects or to give training related to risk reduction management systems, for example risk zoning such as may be adopted by tree owners.

The need for this refresher programme has arisen out of a recent inquest (2014) where council highway inspectors had not completed any hazard-related training for seven years and a common sense approach to reinforcing previously acquired knowledge and skills.


Course objectives


1.         Be reacquainted with material previously studied in the professional tree inspection programme (PTI) to ensure the previous knowledge and skills acquired are kept current


2.         Review key concepts, such as systematic and diagnostic tree inspection procedures


3.         Share ideas and experiences gained since completing the PTI programme


4.         Update knowledge and skills in technical matters


5.         Ensure compliance with regulatory and best practice changes


6.         Ensure that you continue to possess the skills and knowledge needed to perform the important tasks connected to tree inspection. The day will include a tree inspection exercise and feedback


No assessment procedure is in operation for this refresher course.


Tree inspection kit will be required.