Tree Surveys For Planning Applications
This is an area that we are particularly familiar with having been instructed to carry out tree surveys on literally thousands of planning applications over the last 20+ years.
There is a statutory duty under the Town & Country Planning Acts for local planning authorities to consider the protection of trees when planning applications are made. It’s therefore no accident, nor is it simply a whim of the local council to ask for a tree survey to be submitted with a planning application, even if trees are not actually located on the site itself (they may be off site but close enough to the boundary to potentially be affected by a development).
The purpose of the BS5837 tree survey, and indeed the over-riding aim of the local planning authority in requesting a tree survey for a planning application, is to determine whether a development will have an impact on important trees within the landscape. It is therefore critical that the right information is gathered accurately, and that the developer or applicant is made aware of any issues that may require alterations to be made to a layout or even prevent the development of the site.
From the time we set foot on the potential development site we are not only gathering the data required to satisfy the basic tree survey requirements, we are also looking for potential constraints to the development process that might impact on the planning outcome. Many of our clients will confirm that in some cases we have saved them considerable time and money by advising them of potential pitfalls, thereby allowing them to design round constraints, and in some cases we have been able to increase the size of the development window by looking strategically at the landscape and advising where additional units may be possible.
The basic tree survey is only part of the process however, which again is where we excel in providing written reports, Arboricultural Impact Assessments, to support the planning application.
Arboricultural Impact Assessments
The current version of the British Standard relating to trees & development, BS5837: 2012 Trees in relation to design, demolition & construction, is the current standard used to assess the quality of and impact from development on trees within the local landscape. The local planning authority, in addition to it’s own planning policies on trees & development, will usually refer to this standard during the determining of planning applications where trees are a material consideration.
Arboricultural Method Statements
Where proposed developments or site activities might, in the absence of suitable controls, have an adverse impact on retained trees, an Arboricultural Method Statement may be essential in order to demonstrate how important trees will be physically protected throughout the development process, and what measures may be required in order to safeguard retained trees. Our Method Statements are prepared with the end user in mind and in a format that is straight forward and easy to interpret.