Need a tree survey in Bournemouth?

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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Need a tree survey in Bournemouth?

Trees are a highly prized part of the historic landscape in and around Bournemouth and any applications for planning permission are likely to require tree surveys.

Renowned as a seaside resort, Bournemouth in Dorset is home to thousands of trees and 1000 hectares of parks and gardens.

Important gardens

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has been awarded 23 Green Flags in recognition of its beautiful parks and green spaces which include the Lower Gardens, the Central Gardens and the Upper Gardens which contain many unusual tree species.

17,000 trees line Bournemouth’s streets and there are 30,000 in its parks and gardens. Alum Chine is an award-winning tropical garden overlooking the bay and a variety of trees can be seen in nearby award-winning historic gardens Boscombe Chine Gardens.

Close to the New Forest National Park, southern England’s largest area of forest and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bournemouth has 10 Nature Reserves and is surrounded by Green Belt designations and internationally designated heathlands.

The Lower Gardens in Bournemouth.

Development in Bournemouth

A popular resort since the end of the 18th century, the addition of the Winter Gardens and Pleasure Garden in the 1870s added to Bournemouth’s appeal. The Local Plan aims to enhance its reputation as a coastal garden town: priorities are to protect and enhance conservation areas, create a sustainable environment and encourage healthy lifestyles through walking and cycling areas and a network of open green spaces.

Sustainable growth in the town must not compromise the natural and historic environment; the council wants to maintain a network of high-quality green infrastructure to encourage the use of public open space, improve the appearance of the town, encourage wildlife and improve residents’ health.

Protected areas

Priorities in Bournemouth Local Plan’s Core Strategy are to protect heathland, nature conservation and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. There are 48 conservation areas in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, and hundreds of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are in place.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council governs TPOs and conservation orders, so if a developer finds trees with either designation on a site, they must obtain permission from the local planning authority to disturb the trees. More information can be found on the BCP Council page: Tree preservation orders and trees in conservation areas.

Protection for trees

The two main categories of protection are Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), which can be placed on single trees, and conservation area status which applies to groups of trees. These protections are governed by local authorities and permission will be needed for any tree works that would disturb trees subject to these protections.

Developers are responsible for establishing whether trees on a proposed site are protected: if trees are damaged or felled without planning permission, the result can be fines and prosecution. If trees are not protected, a felling licence from the Forestry Commission may still be required and it’s an offence not to obtain a licence if one is needed.

Tree surveys: first steps

Applying for planning permission without a tree survey when trees will be impacted by a scheme risks the application being refused. To find out whether tree surveys will be required, contact the relevant local authorities. Tree surveys provide details of all trees on a proposed development site and advise on the best way of mitigating the effect of the plans on trees.

BS5837 tree surveys

The British Standard BS5837 tree survey is the first stage in the process. It must be conducted by a qualified arboriculturalist and will include information to support a planning application alongside details of how to ensure that laws protecting trees are not breached.

The surveyor will inspect all trees on or adjacent to a proposed development site and take any tree constraints into account. Trees will be graded from Category A for the highest quality trees, to Category U for the least valuable specimens. The tree report will offer information on compensation measures to make up for the removal of lower-quality trees: this could include tree planting.

Tree surveyors will adopt a pragmatic approach to retaining the maximum number of trees on a site and will consider tree protection and tree safety issues. In some instances, trees that obstruct development can be felled or relocated.

The tree report

The survey results will be compiled into a tree report which will contain a CAD drawing known as a tree constraint plan outlining trees on the proposed development site. The tree report will also contain information about retained trees, along with an arboricultural method statement and arboricultural impact assessment containing information about the tree canopy and tree root protection areas.

Details about any further surveys or tree work, such as tree surgery, needed to support a planning application will be included.

Further tree surveys and reports

Specialist tree surveys include health and safety tree reports, tree condition surveys, arboricultural impact assessments, method statements and tree protection plans, arborical supervision and site monitoring. Mortgage lenders might request mortgage reports, which investigate trees for potential risks, and tree owners may also need to investigate any potential risk from individual trees.

Do you need a tree survey in Bournemouth?

Find a firm with experience in conducting the type of tree survey you need for the local planning authority in question as they will be familiar with their planning policies. Make sure that the arboricultural consultancy employs fully qualified tree surveyors as they will be able to offer expert tree advice which will support your application for planning permission.

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