About Trees – Kent Tree Surgeons


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CAse study portfolio

Case Study No.3 Using a crane to fell a tree

Tree Felling using a 200t crane at Dover Technical College


East Kent College faced a significant environmental management challenge with two large trees, a Salix fragilis (Crack Willow) and an Acer pseudoplatanus (Sycamore), located on the grounds along the River Dour. The Crack Willow was found to be eighty percent dead, posing a substantial risk to the surrounding area, while the Sycamore, though in a better state, was showing signs of decline and expected to become unsafe within two years. The project’s complexity was heightened by the trees’ positioning on the riverbank, necessitating a careful and controlled removal strategy to ensure safety and minimise environmental impact.


1. Safe Removal of Hazardous Trees: To fell the Crack Willow and Sycamore to ground level in a controlled manner, ensuring the safety of the college community and preservation of the surrounding environment.
2. Minimisation of Environmental Impact: To execute the tree felling with minimal ground-level impact, preserving the riverbank’s integrity and maintaining the aesthetic and ecological balance of the college grounds.
3. Efficient Use of Resources: To leverage the necessary closure of footpaths and deployment of heavy machinery for the Crack Willow’s removal to also address the Sycamore, thereby reducing future costs and disruptions.


The project was approached with a keen focus on safety, efficiency, and environmental stewardship. Given the restrictive position of the trees and their size, it was determined that the use of a mobile crane was the only viable method to safely carry out the work. The plan involved:

Crane Deployment: Positioning the crane on the college-owned land across the river to lift sections of the trees over the river and footpath as they were cut, thereby avoiding direct impact on the sensitive riverbank area.

Pathway Management:Securing footpath closure permits and implementing traffic management measures to divert pedestrians safely around the work zone, ensuring public safety throughout the operation.

Environmental Considerations:Employing extra matting to protect the ground where no existing pad test was provided, further minimising the operation’s environmental footprint.


The operation commenced with the meticulous setup of the mobile crane and the implementation of traffic management measures to ensure a safe perimeter. Skilled arborists then proceeded to carefully dismantle the Crack Willow, section by section, with each piece securely transported across the river and footpath using the crane. Upon the successful removal of the Crack Willow, attention was turned to the Sycamore, applying the same rigorous safety and environmental protection measures to fell this tree as well.

Throughout the project, the team adhered to the British Standards 3998 (2010) Recommendations for Tree Work, ensuring that all actions taken were in line with best practices for tree removal and environmental conservation.


The project was completed successfully, with both the Crack Willow and Sycamore removed safely and efficiently. The use of a mobile crane proved instrumental in minimising ground-level impact and maintaining control over the tree felling process. The strategic planning and execution of the operation allowed for the effective use of resources, saving the college potential future costs and disruptions associated with the Sycamore’s removal.


The tree felling operation at East Kent College serves as a prime example of environmental management that prioritises safety, efficiency, and ecological responsibility. By carefully planning and executing the removal of hazardous trees, the college has ensured the safety of its community and the preservation of its picturesque grounds along the River Dour. This case study highlights the importance of strategic resource management and the value of adhering to established standards and best practices in environmental stewardship.

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