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A guide to arranging a tree survey in Bath

Bath is highly prized for its architecture and beautiful countryside, and any application for planning permission is likely to be closely scrutinised. Planning applications are likely to need a tree survey to clarify the impact of the scheme on trees.

The Roman baths.

The city of Bath

Bath in south west England is the largest city in Somerset and was named after the Roman baths installed there. It’s the only UK city to be a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and tourism is a major part of the economy. Bath attracts an estimated 13.2 million visitors each year who enjoy its honey-coloured Georgian architecture: highlights include the Royal Crescent, The Circus and the Assembly Rooms.

The planning outlook for Bath

Bath is a place of international significance, and the Bath and North East Somerset Council development plan is aimed at conserving and enhancing the city’s unique appeal. Priorities are to protect Bath’s natural, historical and cultural assets and improve the quality of the environment.

There are opportunities to develop within the central area and Enterprise Zone which the council believes will improve the city aesthetically and make it a business-friendly place. The aim is that this will stimulate economic development while upgrading the townscape: the built environment will become increasingly energy and resource-conscious with the introduction of more renewable energy, climate change mitigation and a reduced carbon economy.

New housing is an important part of this plan to support the city’s economic potential and it will help regenerate many areas of the city. Development of the city’s edge will need to be sustainably designed and sympathetic to the landscape. The overall vision is to add to Bath’s identity as a place to visit in the south west, with various facilities, a thriving economy and a beautiful environment.

The Royal Crescent.

Protection for trees

Bath and North East Somerset Council is the local planning authority that governs the rules around trees and planning and tree preservation is a priority. Permission is needed from the council before any development on conservation areas or impacting trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) can be carried out. Failure to comply with this ruling may result in significant fines and could be classed as a criminal offence.

The British Standard BS5837 tree survey

This involves arboricultural consultants inspecting each tree on the proposed development site and surrounding areas. Trees will be graded from category A to category U; the best trees in category A will need to be retained, while others may be relocated or destroyed. While arboricultural consultants will aim to retain the maximum number of existing trees on development sites, those with lower importance may be felled and replacement planting of new trees may be recommended.

Tree report

The completed BS5837 tree survey will provide an assessment of all tree species on the development site and explain the findings. The written report includes a CAD drawing outlining the site and the trees on it. The report can be used to support a planning application by presenting a professional plan of action to the local planning authority. The tree surveyor will provide full details about any other tree inspections needed in relation to design demolition and construction plans, including ecological survey work, or tree surgery that might be needed.

Further tree surveys

The range of tree surveys that may be required includes a tree constraints plan, a tree protection plan, an arboricultural impact assessment that will investigate root protection areas, an arboricultural method statement, arborical supervision, site monitoring, and tree protection plans. Other types of tree surveys include tree safety surveys to investigate potential risks, tree condition surveys, a pre-purchase tree survey, and mortgage tree reports which mortgage providers or insurers may require.

Do you need to arrange a tree survey in Bath?

It’s important to engage an arboricultural consultancy that employs qualified consultants who hold the relevant licences, as they will be able to provide expert advice. The firm should also be experienced in carrying out the type of tree survey that your local planning authority requires.

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