In recent years, there has been increasing concern over the risks posed to the public by falling trees and branches. A relatively small number of accidents involving fatalities and serious injuries have been prominently reported in the media. There have been a few high profile criminal prosecutions and civil cases arising. Yet the risk of injury to the public remains extremely low, and only a very small percentage of these incidents have occurred on the waterways.

Although trees provide numerous benefits which enhance the attractiveness of waterways they can bring with them a number of significant hazards which need to be managed. These include:

  • Damage to waterway structures
  • Obstruction of navigations, reducing safe navigable width
  • Obstruction of boaters’ sight-lines, heightening risk of collisions
  • Causing injuries or immersions on boats passing through low overhangs
  • Exacerbating drowning risks to persons in the water
  • Severe injury or damage caused by falling trees or limbs