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Tree Surveys in Support of Planning Applications: Why Are They Important?

A tree survey is essential for supporting any proposal for developing a piece of land. The tree survey will assess the impact of construction on the environment, surrounding vegetation and existing trees in that area.

Land developers, architects, property owners and project managers all need to be aware of the importance of a tree survey and how it can make or break the success of a land development proposal.

What is a Tree survey?

A tree survey is an official assessment carried out by a Arboriculturist. There is a British Standard of tree surveying, the BS5837, and this helps to guide land developers when submitting planning proposals.

A tree survey gathers information regarding the tree's current condition. This data is then used to inform land developers on what they need to do with the trees that are on the land, if they are to be conserved, how they will be protected or, if they need to be removed.

Why Do Developers Need a Tree Survey?

Developers need to conduct a tree survey in order to support their Planning Application.

The survey will provide valuable information on the impact that the land construction will have on the surrounding area and it will highlight areas that land developers need to focus on, i.e.) shade constraints, natural lighting, root protection areas, etc.

Some of the main reasons a developer will conduct a tree survey includes:

Tree Survey for Health and Safety

A tree survey will provide valuable information regarding the health and safety risks of trees in close proximity to the construction site. It will assess whether or not they are at risk of falling and if they are suitable to be placed near a development zone.

Tree Surveys of Protected Trees

Trees can be protected by Conservation Area Orders of Tree Preservation Orders. Where this is the case, the tree owner will need to apply to the council using a Tree Works Application Form for any remedial or removal works to protected trees.

It is a requirement that these forms are accompanied by a report from a qualified Arboriculturist, which is why you will need a tree survey.

Tree Surveying For The Development Project

A tree survey will provide valuable information regarding the land development project and how the surrounding trees may affect its development. It will make the landscape developer aware of:

  • The growth potential of trees.

  • The span of root coverage underneath.

  • The shading constraints and natural lighting possibilities.

  • The tree's life cycle.

This is all valuable information for a development project as architects and project managers need to be able to accurately design their proposals taking due consideration to the surrounding trees.

What Will a Tree Survey Tell Developers?

A tree survey will provide developers with the following information:

  • The number of trees on the land.

  • The different types of tree species.

  • The tree’s age: young, semi-mature, mature, post-mature, veteran.

  • The tree’s life expectancy.

  • The tree’s current state of health - structural and physiological.

  • The tree height, in metres.

  • The tree diameter, in millimetres.

  • The crown radii (north, south, east and west) in metres.

  • The tree’s unique reference number.

  • The developable area outside of the Root Protection Area of the trees.

  • How to protect retention trees.

This information is extremely important when developing a land project. A tree surveyor will also help developers categorize the trees on the land into four main categories:

Category A

Category A is the classification given to the most important trees on the site. These trees are a priority to be conserved and local planning authorities will usually not give permission for development work to be undertaken within a certain distance of them.

Category B

Category B trees should be sought to be preserved, although they do not meet category A requirements, they should still be retained as they provide a high amenity value to the surrounding landscape.

Category C

Category C trees are given to low quality trees or common trees that are not particularly outstanding or of high amenity value.

Category U

Category U trees are classified as trees that are dying, already dead or pose a potential health and safety risk if they were to fall. Local authorities don’t usually object to their removal, especially if they pose a health and safety threat to the public.

Tree Surveyor Near Me

If you would like to secure a tree survey for a land development project based in Northern Ireland, you can do so by getting in touch with us at McNamara Tree Surveys. We are a team of expert tree consultants offering affordable tree surveys to both the public and private sector.

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