In this series of articles, we will be sharing exclusive coverage from all aspects of APF 2022. Today we take a look at the Arb Show at APF. 

A new collaborative partnership venture for 2022, last month’s combination of the ARB Show and APF brought two worlds together – and it was the crowds who bought tickets and poured through the gates in their thousands who reaped the benefits.

MUCH missed in 2020 and 2021, the UK’s leading annual trade event dedicated to the world of arboriculture made a welcome return last month, in a slightly different format from previous years.

‘Enhanced’ might be the best way to describe the ARB Show 2022, which for the first time was held in cooperation with the APF, providing a one-stop central venue for all tree-related contractors, consultants, trainers, innovators, movers and shakers – as well as the demonstrators, exhibitors, suppliers, competitors and technical experts who generously offered their time, services, knowledge and experience to share with the industry. 

As always, the ARB Show 2022 was hosted by the Arboricultural Association, the leading organisation in the UK for tree-care professionals working in all areas of arboriculture.

Commenting on the event joining forces with the APF for the first time, chief executive John Parker said: “We are really, really pleased with how it’s gone. The APF is a huge show and so is the ARB Show. The opportunity arose, post-COVID, to review everything we were doing and how it works. We have combined the shows this year to see how it works. We’ll review it before deciding if it’s something we want to do again.

Forestry Journal: Arboricultural Association chief executive John Parker was really pleased with how the show went.Arboricultural Association chief executive John Parker was really pleased with how the show went. (Image: EA)

“We are a very separate profession to forestry, but there is some crossover. That includes in the kit and equipment. So people who want to go to the ARB Show got a much bigger group of things to look at, and our exhibitors were exposed to some new audiences. Two-rope working was a big topic and people enjoyed looking at the kit.

“Arboriculture is in a good position, but it’s not as strong as it should be. Everyone is talking about trees and tree planting, and people understand trees are an important thing. But we are still trying to convince them that if they want them to do what they want, we need a strong, healthy arboriculture profession behind it.

“At the moment there are a lot of people who don’t know what the word means. We are trying to do more public-facing stuff. We are going to events and publishing guides. If you want tree work done properly, you need to invest in arb professionals.

“If at every event we go to we speak to a couple of hundred people, then that’s a couple of hundred people with more knowledge of arb. We are getting there but it is a long journey ahead.

Forestry Journal: A knot-tying competition was among the Arb Zone highlights A knot-tying competition was among the Arb Zone highlights (Image: FJ)

“People in schools don’t know arb is a profession. We need to get more people coming into the profession, we need more people from diverse backgrounds. There are a lot of challenges. It’s a long-term game and we need to think in tree time.”

Delivering on the promise of education, the Arb Worker Zone offered regular demonstrations and climber workshops, with impartial advice about climbing kit, current standards and tips for effective and safe working. There was also the return of old favourites, such as the throw-line competition (with plenty of prizes to be won) and the knot-tying competition (again won by Matt Graham, completing five knots in 15.79 seconds).

Forestry Journal:

In addition to the host of interactive features, a special mobile crane was on site demonstrating tree dismantling, with workshop sessions and presentations on the preparation, skills, knowledge and experience required to carry out this work safely and efficiently.

The Arborists’ Workshop seminar tent, sponsored by Hi-Line, provided short presentations from a wide range of industry experts, covering pests and diseases, current standards for tree work, training in crane work, the Approved Contractor scheme, use of two ropes, veteran tree management, new trainer recruitment and many other topics.

The seminar series kicked off with a talk from Lantra’s head of instructor network Stephen Roberts on the subject of recruiting instructors.

He said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be the opening speaker in the Arborists’ Workshop. We received dozens of new enquiries from people who expressed an interest in becoming Lantra instructors in forestry and arboriculture.

“I also spoke to a number of existing instructors who wanted to add to their skill set and a number of providers who said they were very happy to see Lantra attending the event. It was also good to visit the Arb Zone and provide information on instructor recruitment.”

Keep an eye on our channels for a full version of this interview