MARK DANIELS - Adviser on visitor and occupational health and safety at historic buildings, parks, gardens, coast and countryside

News archive March 2013

26th March 2013

HSE publishes updated version of internal guidance on tree safety management

HSE's internal guidance to inspectors on tree safety management was originally published in 2007 as a Sector Information Minute with the title "Management of the risk from falling trees". Although not aimed specifically at duty holders, many in the industry took account of its contents in determining the key elements of a tree safety management regime.

After limited consultation (partly through the IOSH Rural Industries Group), an updated version has now appeared on HSE's web site, with a slightly revised title - "Management of the risk from falling trees or branches". There appear to be relatively few substantive changes - the suggested minimum two-zone system is retained (even though most organisations use at least a three-zone system, and a two-zone system doesn't allow much distinction between trees bordering a busy main road and trees on a well-used footpath). The suggested system for managing trees now includes reference to restricting access to public areas in high winds. The 2011 suite of guidance produced by the National Tree Safety Group is recognised and included in the references, as is the HSE internal guidance on responding to public safety incidents where HSW Section 3 applies.

The updated Sector Information Minute can be found here -

31st March 2013

New good practice guidance on wild and nature play from the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group

The Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group (VSCG) has published good practice guidance on wild and informal play on its web site at It provides useful definitions, discusses management implications, and provides a list of relevant references.

There is also a case study on the nature play trail at the Forestry Commission's Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire. The case study is here -