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Arboriculture Association 

Background Information

The Arboricultural Association was founded in 1964. It is the principal, largest body in the UK and Ireland for arborists – those professionally involved in amenity tree care. A range of membership grades exists linked to national qualifications framework levels. Members can progress through the membership grade structure as their career progresses in either civic or commercial employment at craft, technical, supervisory, managerial or consultancy level. There are over 2,300 Arboricultural Association members in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The Charitable objective of the Arboricultural Association is to Advance the Science of Arboriculture for the Public Benefit. The Association sees itself as “ The Voice of Arboriculture” and promotes the sustainable management of trees in areas where people live, work and play.That objective is met in a number of ways, particularly through the holding of seminars and conferences and by the publishing and distribution of a range of publications dealing with tree care – The ARB Magazine, the Arboricultural Journal, and many other publications: booklets, leaflets, guidance notes, news releases and their website.

The Association stages an annual  conference and each year delegates, speakers and guests come from all over the world to this premiere event.   The Association also has a directory of both Registered Consultants and ARB Approved Contractors.

Throughout the year the Association organises training seminars and workshops on arboricultural themes. These events are open to members and non-members – a full list is available on the associations website’s training and events pages.

All grades of Association membership are encouraged to undertake continuing professional development and it is compulsory for some grades: Fellows, Professional Members, and Technician Members.

The Association’s business is governed by a board of directors who are also trustees of the charity. The directors are democratically elected by the members. The directors are supported by a number of committees and working groups, committee and group members being selected by the directors from volunteering members.

Regional branches provide a local focus for members and each branch is governed by democratically elected branch officers. The day to day running of the Association is managed by the staff based at The Malthouse, Standish, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, in the UK.

The Arboricultural Association is represented on a number of national bodies including the Arboricultural Liaison Group, the British Standards Institution, the European Arboricultural Council, The Forestry Commission Biosecurity Programme Board, the Highways Authority, the Health and Safety Executive’s Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group, Lantra SSC”s Trees and Timber Industry Group, the National Tree Safety Group, the NPTC Land-based Advisory Committee, the Society for the Environment, the Tree Council (UK and Ireland) and the Trees and Design Action Group. It has also developed good working relations with UK central government, and is consulted on proposals for new or revised legislation and other matters which might have an influence on amenity (landscape) trees.

The History of the Association

In 1964 a group of local government horticulturists and forestry officers, dismayed at the increasingly rapid erosion of the amenity trees in the landscape, formed the Arboricultural Association (AA). These people also recognised that standards of tree care and management were very low.

At the same time a group of equally concerned commercial tree surgeons established the Association of British Tree Surgeons and Arborists (ABTSA).

Ten years later the two organisations amalgamated to provide comprehensive representation of local government, commercial and lay interests. This is the Arboricultural Association of today.

Some of the notable areas in which the Association has influenced include positive support for the development of Tree Preservation Order and Conservation Area legislation, (the Planning Acts); and the establishment of education courses in both tree surgery and arboriculture.

The Association has created professional standards of conduct and acceptable levels of workmanship for both contractors and consultants.

The Association liaises and co-operates with other kindred organisations in the interests of improving the landscape tree cover of Britain and Ireland, and also with fellow organisations in Europe, Australia, North America and Asia.


The Irish branch was established in 1999, and has been pivotal in steering the promotion and progress of modern arboriculture in Ireland, south and north.


Roy Goodwin (Chair)
041 987 3584 / 087 222 5811