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How to arrange a tree survey in Bradford

Protected trees are given high priority when it comes to applications for planning permission in Bradford. In fact, any planning application that is likely to impact trees will come under scrutiny from the local council and a professional tree survey may be needed to address queries over tree management.

Views over Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire.

Bradford and development

Dating back to Saxon times and inhabited by the Romans, the Industrial Revolution brought about changes that made Bradford the wool capital of the world by the late 19th century. Centrally positioned in the UK, Bradford in West Yorkshire has great communication links and is renowned for its scenery which includes the Pennine Moors, Ilkley Moor, and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Bradford has become the headquarters for many major companies and has a thriving economy and a growing young workforce as a result. It’s an attractive place to live, being surrounded by stunning countryside, and has been named the UK City of Culture for 2025.

Bradford District has 36 parks covering 270 acres, and the council is prioritising the protection of such green spaces as part of its plan to improve biodiversity and achieve net zero carbon ambitions by 2038. Despite this, the local council wants to promote development for housing and employment, along with city centre regeneration.

The local plan

The new Bradford District Local Plan is nearing completion and priorities are to identify new sites for housing and employment while protecting green spaces to make the district a greener place to live and work in.

The Plan aims to see sustainable development, economic growth, and well-designed urban housing by making better use of brownfield land and regenerating the city centre which will reduce the need to use greenfield land.

Despite its economic prosperity, Bradford faces challenges: there are areas of deprivation and low land and property values. Securing new development investment and regeneration will provide jobs and boost poorer areas as well as enhance the historic environment.

Protected trees

Individual trees may be protected by Tree Preservation Orders, while conservation area status can protect trees standing in a group. Permission is needed from the local authority before any development takes place in conservation areas or impacts a protected tree. Failure to comply with this ruling may result in significant fines and could be classed as a criminal offence.

Information about trees subject to a tree preservation order or conservation area status can be found on the local authority’s tree works and preservation page. Any application for planning permission on a development site that involves trees is likely to need a tree survey to clarify how they will be dealt with. The planning authority will need to be convinced that trees will not be harmed unnecessarily to approve the application.

Arboricultural consultants carry out a tree survey at ground level.

The British Standard BS5837 tree survey

This involves arboricultural consultants making a site visit and carrying out a tree inspection of individual trees on the proposed development site and surrounding areas. The tree stock will be graded from category A to category U according to condition and quality: 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, less important trees may be felled, and more trees may be planted to compensate. The tree survey report will provide details of the best approach to take.

The tree report

The completed BS5837 tree survey will provide a written report assessing all trees on the development site, along with a CAD drawing of the site and the trees on it. The arboricultural report offers a professional view of the best way forward for the site and it can be used in support of a planning application to the local council. If any other tree surveys or tree services are needed in relation to design demolition and construction plans, the tree report will include details.

Further tree surveys

More specific tree surveys include an arboricultural impact assessment to investigate root protection areas, an arboricultural method statement, a tree constraints plan, arborical supervision, and tree protection plans. Mortgage providers or insurers may require mortgage tree reports; home buyers may need a pre-purchase tree survey, whilst a tree owner may need tree safety surveys to investigate potential issues such as subsidence risk.

Do you need to arrange a tree survey in Bradford?

The first step is to identify an arboricultural consultancy with experience in carrying out the type of tree survey required by the relevant local authorities: it’s useful to check their past project to make sure. The firm should also employ qualified, professional tree consultants who hold the correct licences.

Engaging the right firm for your tree survey will ensure that you are given expert arboricultural advice about your development site.

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