Tree surveys for developments

What is involved

A tree survey for development, also called a BS5837 survey, is the one normally required by Local Planning Authorities (LPA) for development and planning permission. It needs to conform to British Standard BS5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction- Recommendations’

A competent “arboriculturalist” must inspect the trees on and adjacent to the site. The trees on site are assessed in terms of their value which includes their health, longevity and value for amenity, landscape and wildlife into simple categories.

What the assessment includes

As part of the tree survey, a plan is produced to show the trees on site, their canopies and Root Protection Area (RPA), their expected life span and any constraints they present. Based on a final site layout an Arboricultural Impact Assessment is produced to show what effects will occur if the site is developed. This can also include positive effects from tree planting or remedial works to rejuvenate neglected trees. We can do this for you in pdf or AutoCad format.

More specialist assessments can also be made for shading and expected future growth needs to inform architectural layout and design.

With a good design and proper advice, trees and woodland can offer enhancement for the amenity, ecology and landscape value of a site, as well as on large sites benefits for leisure and recreation.

Arboricultural Method Statement

During development an Arboricultural Method Statement will set out how construction must take account of trees. Trees that are marked for retention, as well as any adjacent trees owned by neighbours that may be affected by development, will need to be protected from any potential harm that may occur during the demolition and construction phases of the project, such as root damage from ground compaction or trenching or being accidentally hit by machinery.

This involves both above and below ground precautions. Above ground, the crown spread and dimensions of the tree will need protecting, below ground the roots of the tree are a constraint governed by the Root Protection Area (RPA).

The RPA is the area the tree’s roots occupy – this requires fencing and ground cover to protect it from above ground operations. Information on protective measures for the trees on site will be detailed as part of a BS5837 report.

Links to ecology surveys

During development planning, arboriculture often requires consideration with ecology. Indeed with bats surveys and tree surveys the two often interact.

Furthermore in many of our urban and brownfield spaces, trees and woodland are frequently important features – sites on which we already offer ecology advice to clients.

With arboriculture being a natural synergy with our other wildlife services, our joined up service adds significant benefits for our customers by dealing with all their trees requirements at once. For architects and the planners, it avoids complicated cross-referencing of technical reports.  It can also offer cost savings by reducing site visits and duplicatory surveys of trees.