Our Arboriculture Team spend their summer with the Canal & River Trust

Our Arboricultural team work hard to protect our precious trees for future generations.

Ecus Communications Team
Written by:

Ecus Communications Team

August 24, 2022

If you have trees on your land, it is your legal responsibility to maintain your tree stock and manage them so that they don’t pose an unacceptable level of risk. Our arboriculturists provide a range of services to help you do this. Recently we’ve been working closely with the Canal & River Trust to help them care for their trees. 

The Canal & River Trust care for a 2,000 mile long, 200 year old, network of canals, rivers, reservoirs, locks and docks. They are also responsible for around one million trees growing along their waterways. These trees provide valuable habitat for wildlife and biodiversity – but they have to be carefully managed to ensure the safety of people and the general canal infrastructure.  This is where we come in. 

Ecus and Canal & River Trust

Every two years we spend the summer months surveying areas of the Trust’s trees in London and the South East, the East Midlands, and the North East of the UK. Our Arboriculture Team survey tens of thousands of trees in designated ‘higher target’ areas, looking for specimens that risk causing damage or harm. Our experts cover as much of the network as possible on foot or bike, looking for trees that have a reasonable chance of causing damage or harm. They enter their risk assessment on the Trust’s bespoke GIS app, which shows an accurate record of the land they own and where these higher target areas are. 

When carrying out these kinds of surveys, our arboricultural experts look for weaknesses in trees —perhaps around the roots or base or sometimes among branches.  They look for defects such as cavities, signs of decay, cracks, split branches, or signs that branches have recently fallen off. They are also trained to spot structural weaknesses – perhaps in the way that a tree grows that makes it structurally weak. 


The whole context and condition of ‘at risk’ trees are recorded on the Trust’s app and the data are used to generate a spreadsheet to organise further tree works to remedy the risks.  Our surveys take place through the summer months (June to August), so that all preventative tree works can be undertaken between October and March, to avoid disturbing any nesting birds or bat roosts. 

Canals were an important part of the UK’s industrial revolution and transformed the way goods were transported around the country.  When other forms of transport took over in popularity, our canal network fell into a state of disrepair until the growth of leisure canal holidays in the 1950s initiated a period of improvement. British waterways are now an important part of our history and heritage, and provide valuable green spaces for wildlife habitat and biodiversity. 

When our arboricultural consultants spend their summers surveying the Canal & River Trust’s trees, not only do they get to spend their time in nature, sometimes walking up to 15 miles a day, but they get to spot all kinds of wildlife, meet a variety of interesting people by the water, and enjoy the flourishing biodiversity of these precious green corridors that cover the country.