As the UK’s trees come alive in the spring with the arrival of nesting season, it’s important to remember that this time of year can also bring about the need for tree surgery. While the presence of nesting birds may seem like a good reason to avoid cutting trees, the reality is that in some cases, tree surgery is necessary for safety reasons.
Tree surgery, also known as arboriculture, is the practice of caring for and maintaining trees. This can include pruning, removing dead or diseased branches, and even removing entire trees if necessary. While tree surgery is typically performed throughout the year, it can become more complicated during nesting season due to the presence of birds.
In the UK, it is illegal to intentionally damage or destroy a nest that is in use under the Wilfdlife and Countryside Act 1981, and penalties for doing so can be severe. For this reason, it’s important for tree surgeons to carefully assess each tree before any work begins, to determine if there are any nests that need to be protected. If a nest is present, the work will typically be delayed until the young have fledged.
However, in some cases, the need for tree surgery may be urgent, such as if a tree is diseased or has fallen into a state of decay that threatens the safety of people and property. In these cases, it may be necessary to carry out the work despite the presence of a nest. In these instances, tree surgeons will take every precaution to minimize harm to the birds.
For work on Construction Sites where delays may be extremely costly tree works can still continue under the Supervision of a suitably qualified Ecologist. They will typically survey the site 48 hours before work is due to commence and produce a report of findings and recommendations for mitigation. This will often entail leaving trees with nests untouched and sometimes with a ‘buffer zone’ of trees around them to offer protection.
In conclusion, the arrival of nesting season in the UK presents a unique challenge for tree surgeons, as they strive to balance the conservation of the country’s feathered friends with the need to maintain safe and healthy trees. But by taking a careful, thoughtful approach to tree surgery, arborists can ensure that the UK’s birds, trees, and people all thrive together.