We understand the planning system and offer the full range of consultancy services that may be needed to satisfy the tree-related requirements of your local planning authority. At an earlier stage, we can also offer pre-planning advice regarding the possibilities for your site.
Where planning permission is required for development in proximity to trees – including nearby trees on neighbouring land – local planning authorities should request reports submitted in accordance with BS5837: 2012 (Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction: Recommendations).
An arboricultural report will usually be required for any planning application where there are trees on-site, or where there are trees on neighbouring land within 15 m of the application area (this is due primarily to the risk of root damage).
As arboricultural consultants with extensive experience of development work – including on problematic sites and those with legally protected trees – our report recommendations are clear, practical, site-specific and cost-effective. They are supported by clear and accurate CAD drawings which provide quick and easy understanding of the specific situation. We find that the clarity of our reports is often appreciated by planners, architects and local authority tree officers.
Our strong commitment to professional development training ensures that we stay abreast of current policy, guidance and research. As such, we are able to present robust arguments in support of our report recommendations.
We have a positive and pro-active approach to trees and development, preferring to find solutions rather than obstacles. We recognise that trees are one of many competing factors to be weighed up in the planning process – but also that their presence can add value to a development, and that they bring a wide range of benefits to society, ecosystems and to the environment on which we all depend.
We always advise that arboricultural advice is taken at the earliest opportunity in the development process – most of our established and repeat clients find this approach very beneficial. Without early advice, wasted time and expense may be spent planning the retention of trees which are in fact diseased or unviable, or conversely in assuming that a particular site layout will be acceptable in close proximity to trees of value.
The most commonly requested elements of BS5837 reports are listed here. We can advise on which elements are likely to be required for your particular project.
An initial tree survey will always be required prior to further report work, to identify the trees on-site, their particular merits or flaws, and whether their long-term retention is realistically viable. The root and canopy constraints that the trees present are illustrated on a CAD drawn Tree Constraints Plan – this is easily layered into the client’s design drawings to ensure that the site’s maximum realistic potential is readily understood and realised.
It is greatly preferable, but not essential, that the survey is carried out prior to drawing up the design proposals. This increases the likelihood of an outcome which achieves a sustainable balance of development value and tree retention. Sustainable retention of trees and other green infrastructure is increasingly weighted for in the planning process: achieving this balance can, therefore, increase the likelihood of planning success.
The Basic Tree Survey will usually be followed – after the design work – with an Arboricultural Impact Assessment specific to the proposals. This is not always the case however: the basic survey alone may often be sufficient to support outline planning applications. We can provide the survey either as a standalone item or as part of a larger report package.
An Arboricultural Impact Assessment is the normal requirement of Local Planning Authorities in support of applications for full planning permission. It describes the effect of the specific development proposals on the trees on and around the site. The report will in most cases include an Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) and Tree Protection Plan (TPP), and it may also be appropriate to specify any required new tree planting at this stage. In some cases however the AMS, TPP and new tree planting may be dealt with by condition – subsequent to planning approval.
The report includes an unambiguous CAD-drawn plan which clearly identifies the trees for retention or removal. Additional drawings illustrate the requirements of the Arboricultural Method Statement and the Tree Protection Plan where relevant.
The Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) describes any specific elements of construction design or methodology that are required to enable the proposed layout to be constructed without impacting harmfully on the roots and canopies of retained trees. The AMS may often include specific design requirements for foundations or hard surfacing, as well as precise specifications for any required tree pruning.
Typically contained within the Arboricultural Impact Assessment, the AMS can also be provided as a standalone item – most often where it is required under a planning condition following a successful application. It includes a clear and site-specific CAD-drawn plan.
Compaction of trees’ rooting areas can often result in irreversible tree decline and mortality. The Tree Protection Plan (TPP) outlines measures for protecting retained trees during the actual construction process – from construction traffic and the weight of materials’ storage. Tree root protection is most satisfactorily achieved by fencing off the relevant areas for the duration of the construction process, but on sites with particularly limited working space, it may be necessary to use appropriate specialist ground protection – such that rooting areas can be accessed without causing harm.
Typically contained within the Arboricultural Impact Assessment, the TPP can also be provided as a standalone item – most often where it is required under a planning condition following a successful application. It includes a clear and site-specific CAD-drawn plan.