Tree survey in Warwickshire

If your development project will have an impact on trees, a tree survey is needed to decide on the next steps to take.
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Do you need a tree survey in Warwickshire?

If trees will be impacted by proposed development plans, a tree survey is likely to be needed as part of any application for planning consent. The survey involves a tree consultant carrying out an assessment of all relevant trees present and providing a tree management report.

Warwick Castle on the River Avon in the West Midlands.

Tree surveys in Warwickshire

To find out whether you will need to have a tree survey carried out, contact the relevant local planning authority. Submitting a planning application without a tree survey when one is required, risks the application being refused and a delay to your plans.

As well as providing details of all the trees on a proposed development site, a tree survey report will contain expert advice about how to mitigate the effect of your plans on trees. A tree consultant will make tree preservation a priority, especially large trees which are in good condition.

Development in Warwickshire

Situated in the West Midlands between Coventry and Solihull to the north, Stratford-upon-Avon to the south and Rugby to the east, Warwickshire has good road and rail connections and a growing population. The vast majority of the district’s rural area lies within the West Midlands Green Belt, with only one area south of Warwick, Whitnash and Royal Leamington Spa outside it.

The Warwick District Local Plan has balanced the growth of the district with the protection and enhancement of historic and natural assets: the county includes seven Sites of Special Scientific Interest; 72 Local Wildlife Sites; 31 conservation areas and 12 registered parks and gardens. Warwickshire County Council aims to allow businesses the scope to grow and the economy to prosper, deliver the housing supply needed by the population, and protect the natural environment.

Emphasis is placed on making maximum use of brownfield sites, protecting areas of high landscape value, only allowing development in the Green Belt in exceptional circumstances, and improving habitats and local connectivity.

Experienced consultants will be able to provide the correct information required by local authorities.

Protected trees

Trees are highly protected, and care must be taken before felling many tree species. The two main types of protection are Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), which can be placed on individual trees, while groups of trees can be protected by conservation area status. Local authorities govern both categories of protection and permission is needed to disturb or fell trees subject to these protections.

It’s the responsibility of developers to establish whether trees on a proposed site are subject to either protection. Fines or criminal prosecution can result if trees are damaged or felled without planning permission. Even when trees are not protected, it might still be necessary to apply for a felling licence from the Forestry Commission: it is an offence not to obtain a licence if one is required.

Tree surveys

The initial tree survey is the BS5837 tree survey during which a tree surveyor carries out an inspection of all trees on or adjacent to your site. The trees will be graded from Category A for the best specimens, to Category U for the least valuable. The arboricultural consultant will also consider any tree constraints in the tree survey.

The tree survey report will provide details of all relevant trees, from the high-quality trees which will need to be retained, to the low-quality trees which may be destroyed: details of appropriate compensation measures to make up for the loss of lower-quality trees will also be included and may involve new trees being planting. While arboricultural consultants aim to protect trees and retain the maximum number, in some cases trees that pose an unavoidable obstruction to development can be felled or relocated. A tree consultant will take a pragmatic approach to finding the best way forward.

The tree report

The BS5837 tree report will clarify the necessary steps to take to ensure that laws protecting trees are adhered to. It will contain information about retained trees, along with arboricultural method statements and arboricultural impact assessments which provide information about the tree canopy area and tree root protection areas below ground. Tree reports also give details about any further surveys or future work such as tree surgery, that will be needed to support an application for planning permission.

Further tree surveys and reports

There are a range of more specialist tree surveys that may be required, according to your site. These include the specific needs of health and safety tree reports, tree condition surveys, arboricultural impact assessments, method statements and tree protection plans, arborical supervision and site monitoring. In some circumstances, mortgage lenders might request mortgage reports, which investigate trees for potential risks: one outcome may be that some level of tree work or tree surgery is required. Tree owners may also need to investigate any potential risk from individual trees.

Do you need to arrange a tree survey in Warwickshire?

The first step is to identify an arboricultural consultancy with experience in completing tree reports for the relevant local councils as they will be familiar with their planning policies. It is important to check that the arboricultural consultancy you choose employs fully qualified tree surveyors who hold the relevant licences. Obtaining a professional tree survey that provides appropriate mitigation advice will enable the local planning authority to make an informed decision about your planning application.

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