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Tree Surveys: What do I need to know?

What do I need to know about planning permission tree surveys?

Whether you’re a corporate developer or a home owner looking to build an extension to your property, if you’re going to be building or developing property close to trees, you’ll probably require a tree survey in order to do so.

In an increasingly environmentally conscious age, many local planning authorities are taking measures to conserve endangered trees and protect natural biodiversity from being adversely affected by building developments.  As a result, before beginning any building work, you may need to have a tree survey undertaken by a professional. The results of this arboricultural Report will then form part of your planning permission application.

If you’re not sure whether you need a tree survey or not, get in touch with your local planning office and they’ll be able to give you an answer.

How do I get a tree survey done?

The specific survey you will need is a BS5837 tree survey carried out by professional tree surveyors.

The purpose of the BS5837 aboricultural report is to assess the extent to which your building developments may affect the trees in the surrounding area. This may include not only the trees on your property itself, but also those adjacent to it.

The tree survey will look at a large number of highly specialised factors relating to the land your property is built on, your development plans and the trees in the area.

What does a BS5837 tree survey include?:

  • How close your development and its foundations will be to tree roots
  • Proximity of the structure to tree crowns
  • Details on the species and condition of trees
  • Tree coverage densities
  • Overall analysis of the location
  • Soil types
  • Wildlife in immediate area
  • Proposals of protective measures to enable trees to be retained
  • Proposals for any tree removals as part of the development

Why is an arboricultural report necessary?

The reason that such a detailed report needs to be compiled is that the majority of local councils are currently doing their utmost to preserve trees, both in the countryside and within urban areas. To this end a thorough report into the potential consequences of building developments on trees is now required, as well as an assessment of how the loss of certain trees might affect the immediate area.

Generally speaking, the purpose of a BS5837 is to minimise the impact of new buildings and extensions/ conversions on good quality trees.

What to look for when choosing tree surveyors

Your planning permission tree survey should be carried out by a qualified professional arboriculturist. As with any other trade professional, when choosing from the tree surveyors available you should go for one who offers a fair balance of experience and cost. Some will charge varying rates, depending on the location and nature of the site, and even charge for additional hidden costs, but there should generally be no reason for these price discrepancies. Try to find a suitably qualified and experienced tree surveyor or company that offer a transparent pricing structure.

Watch our video on tree surveys and what a tree survey costs…

Hope you enjoyed this blog post.

Robert Oates