John Parker, AA Senior Technical Officer
On August 15th the AA Wales Branch hosted a member event in the beautiful surroundings of the National Botanical Gardens of Wales, Carmarthen. More than 35 of us were present to hear Jeremy Barrell speak about trees and risk. Jeremy has featured as an expert witness in tree failure cases more often than anyone else and was able to call on many years of experience when telling delegates about the importance of having a robust tree inspection system. Jeremy used a range of cases to illustrate his points, highlighting the fact that some highway authorities are not inspecting their trees at all, or having them inspected by people without the relevant arboricultural experience and qualifications. Delegates also enjoyed listening to an account of Jeremy’s recent trip to India where he was able to experience tree management in Mumbai first hand. After a great lunch delegates were able to visit the gardens and continue the discussion out in the sunshine.
In my new role as Senior Technical Officer I am keen to visit all of the AA regional Branches to learn about their work and meet as many AA members across the country as possible. The Wales Branch event was my first stop and I was hugely impressed with what Mike Higgins and his colleagues are doing there – it is a really active Branch with plenty more events planned, and it was a pleasure to be invited. Upcoming events in Wales include a CAVAT workshop with Chris Neilan in Port Talbot (September 27th), an Emergency First Aid at Work + Forestry in Llanarthne (September 6th) and a Trees and Fungi Seminar in Swansea (September 14th). You can find out more at trees.org.uk/Training-And-Events. The Wales Branch also has a strong social media presence and you can follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Many thanks to Mike, Jeremy and all involved in delivering a superb day in Carmarthen.