Use of technology encouraged in landscape industry

We thank Mr Loong Chik Tong for his letter (Explore using new tech to prune trees efficiently; Aug 19).

We agree with him that technology can help us to prune trees safely and efficiently, and over the years, the National Parks Board (NParks) has been encouraging companies to mechanise.

They go for study trips and visit landscape industry fairs where the latest range of equipment and technology are showcased.

The Landscape Productivity Grant, which subsidises the purchase of productivity-boosting equipment, has also benefited companies.

The wood chipper Mr Loong highlighted is used by a number of our contractors at green spaces in our parks.

However, we are unable to use it for all tree pruning jobs, as this equipment requires space to manoeuvre and is not suitable for use along busy or narrow roads.

Beyond equipment, NParks requires landscape industry workers to be equipped with basic safety and competency skills.

The Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology offers arboriculture courses under the Landscape Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework to train and certify landscape workers.

All workers carrying out tree works would have to be certified competent under the WSQ courses. This certification has to be renewed every two years.

Sim Cheng Hai

Group Director, Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology

National Parks Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2017, with the headline 'Use of technology encouraged in landscape industry'. Print Edition | Subscribe