Trees planted close to property or areas accessible by the public can pose a risk of death or injury to passers-by. While the risk of injury, fatal or not, is extremely low – around 1 in 10 million excluding severe weather – we should acknowledge that trees are part of our changeable natural environment. 1
The risk tends to come to our attention when severe weather conditions cause trees to fall or branches to break off. February 2020‘s storms Ciara and Dennis are predicted to cost insurers £425million, according to PWC.2
In Hull alone nearly 100 trees were brought down by storm . Paul Tripp, East Riding’s
council head of street scene services, reported that council staff dealt with 13 severe callouts of fallen or damaged trees on council land in the immediate aftermath and during the storm.3
Tree falls during Ciara and Dennis also caused significant delays to travel services; there were multiple examples of disruption to the road and rail networks both local, regional and national throughout the course of the storms.4
Managing the risk from falling trees effectively involves a thorough knowledge of the environment and context. Trees are considered to be a much higher risk if they are in danger of falling in highly populated areas, where it is likely someone could be hurt. If the tree does fall and cause injury, the landowner is liable for the damage, so risk managers should work with environmental specialists and landowners to minimise the risk.
Published date: 25th March 2020
For advice on managing the risks associated with tree safety click here
3 https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/storm-ciara-aftermath- damage- disruption-3831711
4 https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/storm-ciara-aftermath- damage- disruption-3831711
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