• The Association of Tree Officers (ATO)

    The Association of Tree Officers (ATO)

    Representing the views and concerns of tree officers nationwide
  • The Association of Tree Officers (ATO)

    The Association of Tree Officers (ATO)

    Representing the views and concerns of tree officers nationwide
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Welcome to The Association of Tree Officers Website

The Association of Tree Officers (ATO) will promote, support and represent Tree Officers. Administrative control of ATO will be undertaken by the ATO Directors, supported by the National Co-ordinator, Becky Porter.

Current ATO members

Latest News


Welcome by Barbara Milne, ATO Director, who will chair the call.

10am A word from new ATO Supporter, 3core2 Certification Ltd

10.05am Biodiversity Net Gain metric: What’s in it for trees and woodland? By Amanda Newson, Forestry Commission

10.50am Questions

11am Finish

This online seminar is for ATO Local Authority members only.

TICKETS HAVE SOLD OUT Building on the success of seven previous events, we’re delighted to announce the National Tree Officers Conference will return to Reading on the 7 November 2023.

Proudly hosted by the Association of Tree Officers, Institute of Chartered Foresters, London Tree Officers Association and the Municipal Tree Officers’ Association, this year’s conference will take place in Reading, Berkshire. This influential event will showcase the latest research, best practice and innovation in different areas of local authority tree, woodland and planning work.

Developed by tree officers for tree officers, National Tree Officers Conference 2023 will be a unique gathering for professionals interested in all areas of local authority arboricultural work. The conference is crucial to tree, woodland and planning officers, providing a significant platform for collaboration, partnerships, benchmarking and offering an insight into current best practice and research. It will demonstrate industry innovation from across the UK, and this year we’ll also feature an international speaker providing an overseas perspective on local authority tree management.

To buy your ticket - https://www.charteredforesters.org/event/national-tree-officers-conference-2023

Confirmed presentations include:

Developing the Belfast Tree Strategy – Our Approach to Stakeholder Engagement and Public Consultation
Alan McHaffie, Senior Woodland and Recreation Officer at Belfast City Council

Alan has been working for Belfast City Council for the last 40 years, starting his career as one of the Council’s in-house tree surgeons.

He continues to manage a team of woodland officers who are responsible for the management of park and street trees and the High Hedge legislation. Alan also oversees the maintenance of the city’s playgrounds.


Ecosystem Services or Carbon Sequestration – Should We Change Our Narrative to Achieve Planting Targets?
Matthew Hirons, Tree Officer at Oxfordshire County Council

As part of a growing team Matthew undertakes the inspection of Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) owned trees, deal with enquiries pertaining to trees on or adjacent to OCC owned land and commission tree care operations including planting. Prior to this role he was a foreman in the trees and landscape department of a local authority owned company providing tree care exclusively to the local authority. Matthew’s entry into arboriculture was as an arborist for a privately owned commercial tree service company that provided tree care for domestic, commercial and local authority clients. Before this, he worked in construction for many years but maintained an interest in the environment, particularly woodlands and hedgerows, by volunteering for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. 


Diversity Still Matters: The National Picture of Diversity in the Tree Officer Profession and What You Can Do to Help
Jasper Kempsmith, Highways Tree Officer at Hertfordshire County Council
Jessica Stocks, Arboricultural Officer at Kensington and Chelsea Council

Jasper has worked in woodland and tree management for more than 10 years. Having studied plant science and zoology at university, he worked for environmental education charity Green Light Trust teaching traditional woodland management techniques and primitive technology. He then moved on to delivering practical conservation and woodland management projects for Hertfordshire County Council (HCC). Since 2020, he has been highways tree officer at HCC. Jasper joined the LTOA Diversity and Inclusion Working Party in early 2021 and is also a STEM Ambassador for the East of England STEM Hub.

Jessica is as an arboricultural officer for Kensington and Chelsea Council in London where she has been working for the past three years. She made a career change in 2018 and began working as an arborist for a local authority arboricultural contractor. She has recently completed a foundation degree in arboriculture and tree management at Myerscough College. Jessica is a member of the London Tree Officers Association’s (LTOA) executive committee, and the LTOA’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Party where she focusses on improving diversity and representation in her profession.


International Collaboration in Arboriculture: European Standards and Updated Tree Assessment Framework
Kamil Witkoś-Gnach, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Tree Institute

Kamil Witkoś-Gnach is an arborist, tree inspector, and forester serving as the Managing Director of the Tree Institute. He serves on the steering committee of the Giant Trees Foundation and is a member of the International Reference Group of the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF). A graduate of forestry at the University of Aberdeen and author and editor of several arboricultural publications, Kamil also manages numerous international arboricultural projects. He contributes to the development of European Arboricultural Standards as a member of the TeST and ECoST working groups. Additionally, he is a member of SAG Baumstatik and the Arboricultural Association.


Trees Species Selection for a Changing Climate: Evidence on Survival and Growth Rates of Newly Planted Urban Trees from Promising Species
Dr Madalena Vaz Monteiro, Urban Forest Scientist at Forest Research

Dr Madalena Vaz Monteiro is an urban forest scientist based at the Urban Forest Research Group (Forest Research). While working for FR, Madalena has conducted research investigating the allometric relationships and growth rates of different species of urban trees and how these can be influenced by site conditions and location. Additionally, her work focuses on better understanding the ecosystem services provided by urban trees and greenspaces, with emphasis on how these can act to regulate surrounding temperatures and help combat the Urban Heat Island effect.


Property Damage and Climate Change: The Story So Far
Sarah Dodd, Director and Founder of Tree Law
Elizabeth Nicholls MCIArb, Barrister at 4–5 Gray’s Inn Square

Sarah is the Tree Hugging Lawyer and founder of Tree Law. Sarah specialises in civil claims arising from disputes with trees, in particular trees causing damage to properties. She has just completed her two-year term as Chair of the Subsidence Forum and is also member of the LTOA, MTOA and the Arboricultural Association. Sarah is the host of Tree Law TV channel on Youtube, providing free content answering commonly asked questions about trees.

Elizabeth Nicholls MCIArb is a barrister specialising in contract, land, property, planning and environmental law, including arboricultural issues. She is co-author of the third edition of the Law of Trees, Forests and Hedges and a trustee of the Arboricultural Association. She advises and represents individuals and local authorities on a range of legal issues. She is also a mediator and an arbitrator and has a keen interest in settling disputes at an early stage.


The Evolution of Oak Processionary Moth Management at Hampstead Heath
David Humphries, Trees Management Officer for the City of London Corporation
Alasdair Nicholl, Senior Arborist for the City of London Corporation

David has been observing trees and their ecology at the site for more than thirty-five years. Overseeing the in-house tree team managing 30,000 trees undertaking inspections, tree health care, safety and veteran tree management.

Alasdair is the Senior Arborist for the City of London Corporation at Hampstead Heath. He has worked as a conservation focused arborist for 20 years and developed a keen interest in nature-based solutions in tree pest management.


Interesting Pest & Disease Findings through the Tree Health Diagnostic and Advisory Service and some Horizon Scanning
Dr Caroline Gorton, Tree Health Diagnostician at Forest Research

Caroline has been part of the Tree Health Diagnostic and Advisory Service at Forest Research (FR) for nine years, responding to tree disease enquiries and processing samples sent in for diagnosis. Predominantly laboratory based, Caroline also delivers training  and carries out site visits to diagnose the cause of ill health in trees. She has expertise in chestnut blight and ash dieback, contributing to the Living Ash Project in particular. Prior to joining FR, Caroline worked at the Royal Horticultural Society as part of their members’ advisory service for six years and has a PhD in Forest Pathology.


With more presentations to be confirmed, featuring content presented by expert arboricultural and urban forestry professionals, this is going to be a fantastic event. The National Tree Officers Conference 2023 will be a great opportunity to learn more about the latest developments in arboriculture and urban forestry.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the National Tree Officers Conference 2023! 


ATO Events Calendar