The Committee

Mark Chester, Executive Director

Mark Chester

A graduate in Amenity Horticulture, Mark gained experience in tree production. He then joined Hartpury College as the lecturer in Horticulture before moving to Dudley to become the Tree Protection Officer. This was followed by time at Walsall Council reviewing the TPO files and then managing the Council’s trees for Birmingham City Council. In 2008, he became a full time freelance arboricultural consultant with Cedarwood Tree Care. Having joined the Consulting Arborist Society in 2007, he became the Chairman in 2009, running the organisation. In 2012, the role was redesignated as Director, allowing the new chairman to pursue the more traditional supporting role.

Bob Widd, Treasurer

Bob Widd

After working as a trainee forester at Westonbirt Arboretum, and  gaining a Forestry Diploma from Newton Rigg, Bob became the Tree Officer for Cumbria County Council in the Lake District National Park on a fixed term contract, quickly followed by a period as Tree Officer for Hampshire County Council. Several years later he became involved in Utility Arboriculture and became the secretary for the British Utility Arboricultural Association (BUAA), the fore-runner of today’s UAG, and an affiliated group to the Arboricultural Association.

Currently currently, he is working on several large Planning projects and have recently acted as the Expert Witness for Her Majesty’s Coroner, during the inquiry in to the death of a local teenager as a result of Summer Branch Drop.

His current role is Director of Bob Widd Associates Ltd, based in Glatton just south of Peterborough. He has been the proprietor of the company, formerly known as Independent Tree Consultants, since 1995 and became the Director in 2011.

Paul Barton, Director, Past Treasurer

Paul Barton

Paul runs Barton Hyett Associates Ltd; an arboricultural consultancy based in Worcestershire established in 2009. He began his career with trees as a groundsman, then freelance climber around Bristol, before gaining the level 4 ‘Technician’s Certificate’ with Treelife based at Westonbirt. Soon after he assisted with a TPO review at Swindon Borough Council, before moving to the midlands to work for an AA approved contractor as the consultancy manager. In 2013 he completed a Masters degree in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry and the University of Lancashire and was awarded the top student award. Later that year he presented the findings of his research about tree management and social housing at the ICF’s ‘Trees, People and the Built Environment II’ conference at the University of Birmingham. Paul is particularly interested in urban forest assessments using i-Tree and innovative ways to assess tree health and communicate tree benefits to the wider public.

Keith Sacre, CAS

Keith Sacre

Keith worked in a parks department during the summer before he was due to start an arts course.  He enjoyed it so much, he stayed, progressing to become part of the management team.  In 1986, he joined Notcutts’ Nurseries as part of their sales team.  He particularly enjoyed working with tree officers in London supplying trees to enhance the urban environment.  In 2002, he was persuaded to join Barcham Trees as their Sales Director.  In 2005, he became aware that many tree officers had limited access to seminars and conferences where new ideas are shared.  He began to organise a series of seminars where leading speakers could share research to those who wished to keep up to date.  These were provided free of charge.  This culminated in the first Big Barn conference in 2008, with Professor Claus Mattheck.  The second, in 2010, was led by Dr. Gary Watson.  The third, with Dr. Ed Gilman, was hosted in June, attracting more than 400 delegates.  Keith is chairman of the BS8454 committee charged with writing the new British Standard ‘Trees from the nursery to independence in the landscape.  He is a trustee of the Arboricultural Association.

Ian Barnes, CAS

Ian Barnes

Ian is a Arboricultural Assocation Registered Consultant (AARC), Fellow of the Arboricultural Assocation, Professional Member of the Consulting Arborist Society, Chartered Environmentalist and a Chartered Horticulturalist.

Andrew Coombes, CAS

Andrew Coombes

In 2015 Andrew celebrated 50 years in the industry. He started his career in 1965 working for the Forestry Commission and then moved into private forestry working for private estates, a forestry investment Company and in timber harvesting and marketing before starting his own business in 1986 which has developed into a thriving Forestry and Arboricultural Consultancy. The business incorporated into a Limited company in 2014.

Andrew is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and an ICF Registered Consultant specialising in Arboriculture. He holds the National Diploma in Forestry and the Professional Diploma Arboriculture. He is a professional Member of the Arboricultural Association. He maintains a high level of continued professional development in the field of arboriculture and urban forestry. Other qualifications include Technician’s Certificate in Arboriculture, the Professional Tree Inspection qualification from LANTRA and the International Society for Arboriculture’s Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ).

Andrew is currently East England Regional Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and a Board Member of the Consulting Arboriculturist Society.

Kevin Martin, CAS

Kevin Martin

My special interests in work are of Tree risk management, management of veteran trees, and dealing with high target areas of foot fall.
I have 12 years experience as a climbing arborist prior to becoming Manager of Arboriculture at RBG Kew.
I studied National Certificate in Arboriculture.
Level4 Diploma in Arboriculture.
PTI Qualified. 2012.
TRAQ Qualified 2014. 
IOSH Managing Safely course 2015.
I now sit on the Board of Directors for The Consulting Arborist Society.
I was one of the key speakers for CAS Experts Question Time 3 presenting on Tree Risk Management.
Currently studying Fdsc Arboriculture online


Simon Hall, Board member

Simon Hall

I have worked as a tree surgeon for the past 25 years starting with the 10 week tree surgery course at Merrist Wood College in 1992.  I also worked as an apprenticeship at Honey Brothers back in the days when they had a tree team.

I have worked extensively in Germany, Canada, Jersey, Cornwall, Australia & New Zealand over an eight year period from 1993, returning to the U.K in 2001. I started my own business ‘Thursley Tree Services’ in 2002 and attained Certified Arborist accreditation with the I.S.A, in 2004.

Contracts have included working for Natural England and the Church of England ‘Guilford Diocese’ estate.  In recent years, I have been asked to assess the condition of trees and to provide tree advise.  I am now gradually easing myself out of the harness and exploring more consultancy work.

 In 2016, I surprised myself when I passed the ISA TRAQ course at Wisely gardens.  I also attended the CAS seminars on ‘Professional Amenity Tree Valuation’ and ‘Tree Preservation Order’ courses at Pershore College, primarily for CPD purposes. In 2016, I become a member of CAS and successfully was recertified for the ISA Cert. Arb.

Keen to learn more, I am also excited to be able to support the work of CAS by becoming a member of the Board of Directors.