Trees, Planning and Development


Where trees and hedgerows are identified and affected by a proposed development, a survey will be required and completed in accordance with BS 5837 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – Recommendations 2012.

General Requirements

  • Topographical Survey - Accurately measured showing all relevant site features.
  • Soil assessment – where appropriate to determine whether a soil is shrinkable,  that may cause the potential for indirect damage. Soil structure composition and PH for the provisions of new planting.
  • A tree survey - details trees and hedgerows identified on the topographical survey and on land adjacent to the development site, including Individual trees, groups of trees and woodlands. Identifying tree dimensions, quality and retention value in accordance with the context of the proposed development (see sections 4.5 Table 1+2 of BS 5837).
  • The tree survey - should identify the constraints posed by trees, both above and below ground, which will inform the site layout design. Constraints include, the presence of a "Tree Preservation Order" or "Trees in Conservation Areas", the existing and eventual crown spreads of trees and their unreasonable obstruction of light.
  • Arboricultural Impact Assessment - a report should be compiled by the project arboriculturist using the data collated from the site survey. The report should assess the impact and the effects the proposed design has directly and indirectly on the trees and where necessary recommends mitigation.
  • A Tree Protection Plan – details the proposed design layout shown on a plan with all trees clearly identified with their root protection areas RPA annotated based on the topographical survey to include all trees, their retention categories and required protection measures during development.
  • New Planting – takes account of existing landscape features and is essential for consideration in the layout, design and future use of a proposed development. New planting should account for the future growth of canopies, stems and root systems to maturity and their potential effects on existing site structures.
  • Arboricultural Method Statements – demonstrates how unavoidable construction operations may take place within the RPA or crown spread of trees (whichever is greatest), clearly demonstrating how these operations will have a little detriment to retained trees. These operations may include but not exclusive to: -
  1. Temporary access.
  2. Installation of service runs.
  3. Construction of hard standing.
  4. Foundation excavations.
  5. Subterranean structures e.g. basement extensions.

This information is general in its guidance, taken from BS 5837 2012 and is not exhaustive, but summarises the points which are essential for the assistance in any development application proposal where trees are affected.

It will be necessary in most circumstances to engage an arboriculturist to provide advice and assistance to help support any development proposal where trees are affected.

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