Applications for planning permission on sites that involve trees are likely to require a tree survey.
If you need a tree survey in Barnsley, 24Housing offers some guidance and background information in this article.
Barnsley’s development outlook
Barnsley lies midway between Leeds and Sheffield, and historically grew around the coal mining industry. The borough’s geography combines rural areas, moorland, and natural woodland, while Barnsley is the main shopping and business area.
Key aims of the Barnsley Local Plan, which sets out the planning framework policy until 2033, are to protect and enhance environmental assets and achieve net gains in biodiversity. Green spaces and green infrastructure are a priority and there is a requirement under the Habitats Regulations to complete an Appropriate Assessment to demonstrate that Local Plan policies do not harm European designated sites; to comply with this the local council has undertaken a screening in conjunction with Natural England.
Amongst Barnsley’s key ecological assets are seven Sites of Special Scientific Interest and over 100 ancient woodlands that have had continuous woodland cover since at least 1600AD. There are also special areas of conservation, special protection areas, Local Nature Reserves, and The Peak District Moors and South Pennine Moors.
While being aware of the area’s ecological importance, the Local Plan allocates sites for housing and employment to meet needs and boost the economy. It states that where development sites involve new planting schemes, they should include native species, and planting should link habitats where possible to form corridors for wildlife.
Trees and the planning system
When it comes to development, trees are given various protections by the planning system. If trees will be impacted by a development scheme, there is a strict procedure to follow and any breach of this could risk a significant fine.
The protection available for individual trees is the Tree Preservation Order, while a group of trees can be protected by a designated conservation area. Tree Preservation Orders and conservation areas are administered by local planning authorities and permission is needed to disturb any protected trees.
It’s the responsibility of developers to find out whether trees on or adjacent to a proposed development site are subject to a tree preservation order or stand in a conservation area. It’s worth remembering that even if trees are not subject to specific protections and need to be felled, a felling licence from the Forestry Commission might be needed.
There is a wide range of tree surveys: the process begins with the BS5837 tree survey which involves a site visit to inspect all trees on a proposed development site, along with nearby trees. All the relevant tree species will be identified, and the tree surveyor will give each tree a condition score. Trees will be assessed for their health, size, local significance, and life expectancy. Part of this tree survey includes an arboricultural impact assessment which investigates the tree canopy and the root protection area below ground.
Arboricultural consultants will identify the high-quality trees that need to be retained and decide on the best way to compensate for the loss of lower-quality trees. While a tree surveyor will aim to retain the maximum number of trees, if certain trees need to be moved or destroyed due to the development project, new trees may be planted by way of compensation. The completed BS5837 tree survey will provide information about any further tree surveys that will be required to achieve planning permission.
Further tree surveys
There are several more detailed tree surveys tailored to meet specific requirements. They include pre-purchase tree reports or mortgage tree reports which may be requested by a financial lender as a risk assessment measure to check trees for any potential risk that they could present. A tree owner might require a tree survey to assess subsidence risk if a tree is in close proximity to a house, or to satisfy tree safety concerns. Other tree surveys include impact assessment reports, tree protection plans, tree condition surveys, arborical supervision, and site monitoring reports.
Do you need to find an arboricultural consultancy in Barnsley?
If you are seeking planning consent and need to have tree surveys carried out, the arboricultural consultancy that you engage must be experienced in providing tree reports for the relevant local planning authority. Make sure that the consultants employed are fully qualified and hold the relevant licences to ensure that they can offer expert arboricultural advice. It’s also a good idea to check that the consultancy has good reviews from previous clients.