Is specialist knowledge becoming like insurance cover?

In my days as a tree officer, I realised that the more senior the position I sought for career development, the less important my skills as an arborist would be.  There would be more time in the office managing situations and less time working with trees.  Indeed, there are tree managers who rarely get to leave the office as they deal with budgets, strategies, staffing and other such issues.  Preferring to spend my time with trees, the freelance approach soon took me away from this environment.

It now seems, as cuts to local authority budgets hit hard, that there is an increasingly limited role for the specialist.  The landscape officer is required to comment on arboriculture as well as designing planting schemes or trying to ensure that an approved scheme has some greenery.  I get the occasional request from a client to provide a landscaping scheme with some trees in it to meet the requirements of planning, this literally being an after thought for them and a low priority.

I have been in planning meetings with officers whose brief had been extended so far that I was better informed than they were.  Scary when we are dealing with the legal consequences of breaching a TPO which they have served!