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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About Frontier Forestry

What qualifications does your team have?

All Frontier Forestry staff members hold National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) and LANTRA qualifications.  We undertake regular external and in-house audits of our working practices to ensure our continued compliance with Arboricultural and Forestry Advisory Group (AFAG) guidance, HSE guidance and Forest Industry Safety Accord (FISA) Guidance.  Update training is a regular occurrence.

In addition to mandatory levels of training, all of our staff members undergo regular First Aid refresher training and undertake regular Aerial Rescue practice.

Other staff qualifications within the company include a Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Certificate in Arboriculture, a City & Guilds in Arboriculture, an Advanced National Certificate in Arboriculture and a NPTC Certificate of Competence for Utility (Electrical) Arboriculture. Members of our staff hold International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) qualifications in the use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWP) so we are able to deal safely and efficiently with dangerous trees that are unsafe to climb.

Managing Director Andrew Jenkins is a qualified Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment (LOLER) Inspector in the Thorough Examination of Arboricultural Equipment, holds a BSc in Estate Management and an HND in Land Administration and is an HGV Licence holder. He also holds qualifications in Bat Awareness and Hazard Assessment of Trees.

Mandy our Office Manager holds an RHS Level 2 Certificate in Horticulture from the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and a Lantra Award in Basic Tree Survey and Inspection.

What Legislation do you work under?

Frontier Forestry undertakes all tree care work within the scope of the following legislation:
The Town & Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997
Forestry Act 1967
BS 3998:2010 “Tree Work – Recommendations”
BS 8545:2014 “Trees: from nursery to independence in the landscape – Recommendations”
BS 5837:2012 “Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – Recommendations”
New Roads and Streetworks Act 1991
Work at Height Regulations 2005
Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)
Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981
The Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994

Do you have insurance that covers me and my property?

Frontier Forestry holds Public Liability, Employers Liability, Professional Indemnity, Personal Accident, Vehicle and Plant & Machinery Insurance. We are covered to the levels outlined below:

Public Liability Indemnity – £5,000,000
Employers Liability Indemnity – £10,000,000
Professional Indemnity – £500,000

We audit our procedures on an ongoing basis which enables us to maintain comprehensive insurance terms.

What are your environmental commitments?

Frontier Forestry Ltd is committed to caring for the environment as we minimise and recycle waste.  Appropriate tree waste is recycled; for example the woodchip is given to environmental charities, schools and universities for use as compost/mulch.  We also provide timber offcuts to primary schools and nurseries for use in their outdoor play areas. Where practicable, we encourage our clients to form ‘habitat piles’ on site which can provide a number of ecological benefits to the resident flora and fauna.

As part of our services, we undertake conservation work for a number of bodies including the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Borders Forest Trust.  We have specialist skills and low ground pressure machinery for use on sensitive sites.  Our team is also involved in a number of management projects relating to Veteran Tree Management.

We comply with current relevant legislation, which includes The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and The Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994.  We ensure that our team is made aware of amendments to existing, or new legislation, and our training programmes take account of these as they are brought into force.  We hold the LANTRA Award ‘Arboriculture and Bats’, a course designed and approved by the Bat Conservation Trust with the Arboricultural Association.  During our daily work this allows us to constantly assess the tree work impact on bats and their habitats.

We hold a current SEPA Waste Carrier’s Licence (Reg No. SCO/334230) in compliance with Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, The Controlled Waste (Registration of Carriers and Seizure of Vehicles) Regulations 1991 & The Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011.

Are you a member of any professional bodies?

International Society of Arboriculture Member


Frontier Forestry is also a member of The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This society serves to improve the understanding of trees and the practice of arboriculture. It does this by disseminating scientific research and educational information on trees throughout the world.

Arboricultural Association Member

The objectives of the Association are:-
  • To advance the study of Arboriculture.
  • To raise the standards of its practice.
  • To foster interest in trees through publications, exhibitions and the stimulation of research or experiment.
  • To assist in the training of students in disciplines where arboriculture is a major subject.
  • To co-operate with other bodies having similar aims.

Questions About Trees

Do I need to tell the Council about the tree work?

We can advise on what works are likely to be acceptable to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and we are happy to make applications to them for any tree works within a Conservation Area and to tree(s) protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) under the Town & Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.  Protection is also often afforded to trees in new developments under Planning Conditions – which are contained in the original Planning Permission.  We can write a letter to the Council detailing what works a client would like done and the arboricultural reasons for doing them.  Councils have 6-8 weeks to make a decision however they often come back sooner for trees in Conservation Areas.

What happens if the Council's Roads Department has sent me a letter about overhanging foliage?

We can help when a client has received a letter from a Council’s Area Roads Manager.  This usually relates to overhanging foliage causing an obstruction over a carriageway and footway which is a breach of Section 91 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.  We can crown-lift trees over the footway and carriageway to the specified heights and clear traffic signs, street lights and traffic signals.

What happens if I get a Dutch Elm Disease letter from the Council?

Dutch Elm Disease (DED) is caused a fungus (Ophiostoma novo-ulmi) which is spread by the Scolytus Beetle.  During the summer months the female beetle feeds in the upper crown of the Elm tree.  This infects the tree’s vascular system with the DED fungus and the affected branches look withered and yellow.  The Council’s inspectors may notice this sign of the disease and mark the tree for felling and send a letter with plan.  If you contact us soon enough we can remove the affected branches (and treat the final pruning would with fungicide) which is sometimes successful and can save a large tree removal bill.  It is important for the tree to be removed before the following spring (when the beetle starts flying again) otherwise the dead bark in the tree is used as a breeding site for the next generation of Scolytus beetle.  We can provide a cost for the removal of a diseased tree promptly including the debarking of the stump.  The tree can either be burnt on site or if this is impractical we chip the  branches and burn the timber off site to conform with biosecurity protocols.

I am worried that my tree might be unsafe. Can you help?

We’d be delighted to help!  If you email or phone the office Mandy will book a site meeting with Andrew and at no cost he can have a look at your trees and quote for any work required.  Andrew has over 20 years experience undertaking tree risk assessments.  Our team is able to identify defects in your tree(s) which are usually structural defects or issues caused by the presence of wood-decay fungi (which we can identify) or defects caused by poor ground conditions or other pathogens.  So we can identify these hazards and assess the risk i.e. the likelihood of failure, the size of the part that might fail and the consequences of that failure.  We put all of this information together and consider the tree species and come up with an action plan and costing.

My tree is too big. What should I do?

This is a common question asked by owners of trees in urban areas, especially when the trees are near housing.  We’d be happy to visit the tree and discuss the best and most cost-effective course of action with the owner.  Sometimes the tree is simply in the wrong position and if it is a large forest species with a large growth potential then the best thing to do might be to remove the tree and replant with a smaller species in a different position.  This is often cheaper than undertaking cycles of pruning over many years.  Many people think that the best thing is to top the tree; however this is not current best arboricultural practice under BS 3998:2010 ‘Tree Work – Recommendations’ and therefore Councils will not allow trees to be topped in Conservation Areas or carried out on TPO protected trees.  Topping severely weakens trees, it causes extensive decay, it can rot the roots causing stability problems, it can actually speed up its growth and it looks very ugly.  However sensitive crown-reduction options can be considered, for example shortening some branches back from a house etc. Please call us to arrange a visit!  We will be happy to discuss the options available.

My tree is damaging the stone wall. What can I do?

This is a very common reason for tree removal in Edinburgh, especially if the wall is large and it is sufficiently unstable to be posing a safety risk to users of a public footway, for example.  Also it is common for a neighbour to insist on the removal of a tree and wall repairs or rebuilding.  When public safety is the issue Councils will usually not hesitate to agree to the removal of the tree, especially if the wall is listed; albeit there has to be absolutely no doubt that it is the tree that is causing the damage.  Damage to walls by trees is usually the result of direct contact with the lower bole or buttresses or root crown (increasing in girth) and increased pressures on the wall by soil or other incompressible materials.  The Council will usually consider the growth potential of the tree; i.e. the likelihood of further damage.  We have been involved in situations where the tree is so special that the stonemason has managed to create a ‘bridge’ in the wall but this can’t always be done.  If the wall is being completely rebuilt, we often request that the wall is removed before the tree removal operation to 300mm below ground level so we can grind back the face of the stump to allow the wall to be rebuilt on its original line.  Please get us out to do an assessment!

Can I prune my neighbour's trees back from my garden?

Yes you can but there is a lot to consider first.  It is helpful if you can discuss your requirements with your neighbour at the very start on a friendly basis.  Many people phone our office and say it is their right to cut off all branches overhanging their boundary (or all roots coming over their boundary) and when can we do the work!  Whilst we are not lawyers, I believe that this is in fact a Common Law right.  However there are serious problems with this:

  1. Even with the longest pole-saws, loppers and ladders it is nearly impossible to prune back overhanging branches of tree to an acceptable standard under BS 3998:2010.  It might be possible with a work platform, if access allows, however it is often much better to climb the tree using rope access systems.  However if we are in the tree we are on the tree owner’s land and we need permission for this…which may not be forthcoming!
  2. If we were to prune a tree back to the boundary line it is likely that this would damage the tree; and if the tree is in a Conservation Area or it is a TPO tree then the Council are duty bound to consider legal action against that person under the Town & Country Planning Acts.
  3. If the tree dies or is so badly damaged by the pruning work then the Council will expect the owner of the tree to remove it and plant a replacement.  The owner of the tree is then likely to sue the neighbour for damages.
  4. Any prunings have to be offered back to the owner of the tree; who could reject them and insist that the neighbour disposes of them.

Please give us a call and we can come out, look at the situation with you and advise on the best way forward.

Why is tree work so expensive?

This is a frequently asked question!  The simple answer is that our fully qualified team undertake dangerous work.  Initial training and refresher training is expensive and there are many qualifications to be assessed on.  Not only must we comply with Health & Safety requirements, which is costly and time-consuming on a daily basis, we also have the cost of liability insurance.  Servicing and repairs and running costs of our large machinery also uses up a large amount of our budget.  Needless to say our on-going commitment to staff training and development, H&S, machinery and insurance ensures that you can be sure of a skilled, committed and professional tree work operation from Frontier Forestry Ltd!

When is the best time of year to prune my tree?

Generally speaking trees can be pruned at any time of year however there are quite a few exceptions.  For example pruning Birches and Walnuts in summer can cause excessive bleeding.  It is best not to prune Elm trees in summer as the pheromones from the cuts can attract the Scolytus beetle which carries the Dutch Elm Disease fungus.  It is best to prune trees of the genus Prunus in summer as the high gum production reduces the likelihood of Silver Leaf Disease.  We can give you advice on your particular tree and consider the pruning required.

I would like to go ahead with your quote what happens next?

First of all, thankyou very much!  We will write to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to ascertain the existence of Planning Constraints – e.g. Conservation Area, TPO or Planning Conditions.  Once the LPA has replied with the permission we are able to book in a date for the work.  Before the team arrive on site it is essential that any Client Conditions specified in our quote are carried out; e.g. clearing access, moving breakables, speaking to neighbours etc.  We would organise parking suspensions with the Council and formal traffic management if required.  Once the work is completed to your satisfaction we will issue an invoice with 30 days to pay.