THE programme for the National Tree Officers Conference 2019 has been announced.

The conference, organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA) and facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), comes at a time when trees in towns and cities are recognised by policymakers as having a crucial role to play in meeting the UK’s climate change target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Key international speaker Gian Michele Cirulli, urban tree manager with the Green Public Service of Turin City Council, Italy, will outline the role of trees in climate change, giving an insight into current and future practices.

Delegates will also get an insight into the process of assessing current canopy cover and integrating planting proposals into new developments in the future as part of a council’s Local Plan. Phil Simpkin MICFor will provide an update on his presentation at the 2016 conference on his work at Wycombe District Council.

Phillip Handley, a GIS specialist with Forest Research, will explain how a lack of data, or data of dubious quality, is preventing a knowledge-based approach to optimising benefits from trees in urban areas. He is working on developing a new data standard with the aim of putting the right trees in the right place.

The conference sessions cover planning, management, legislation, collaboration, diversity, standards and pests and diseases. Individual talks include the regulatory role of a tree officer, best practice for planning issues, tree legislation in Scotland and the reporting of invasive pests and diseases.

The ICF’s development director, Louise Simpson, said: “The National Tree Officers Conference platform allows tree officers to showcase their work, and thereby learn from each other, ultimately improving the success of tree planting and maintenance, helping mitigate climate change and getting people connected to nature with all the associated health benefits that it brings.”

Described as the only major event in the UK dedicated to tree officers, the conference takes place at Reading Town Hall on 6 November.