Rogue tree surgeons warning

Cornwall Council is issuing a warning about rogue tree surgeons who can cause injury and damage.

Council Tree Officer Alan Rowe is a professional member of the Arboricultural Association and is giving tips to residents to prevent them from being conned out of cash by rogue arborists.

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He advises checking paperwork to ensure the tree surgeon is insured, holds the required professional certificates and works to the correct standards.

They should always provide a written quotation and possibly a contact for a referee and proof they are a member of a professional organisation.

Any trader who solicits work door-to-door or who does not provide a permanent address should be avoided.

An offer of a "topping" service in which the whole tops of trees or large branches or trunks are removed should be avoided as the technique is harmful to trees.

During the work the tree surgeon should use safety equipment at all times.

Alan said: “We see some shocking work carried out by traders who do not understand what is best for the trees and are conning the public into believing they are professionals.

“Tree work operations or arboriculture require a high degree of technical competence, supported by training and experience. For these reasons tree work should only be undertaken by well trained, competent arborists who hold adequate insurance.

“Picking the wrong arborist could lead to injury to people, damage to property or irrevocable damage to trees that have taken many years to grow.”

The Arboricultural Association runs a nationally recognised scheme that sets standards, and enables companies to demonstrate their ability to comply with UK law. Anyone who would like to get help choosing a reputable company to carry out work is being advised to visit and check they meet the standards.

Cornwall Council Trading Standards Service also run a trader approval scheme called Buy With Confidence. Traders on this scheme are fully vetted to ensure they meet high professional standards and do not overcharge. You can find a list of these traders by visiting