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Tree survey Huddersfield

Huddersfield is undergoing a town centre development programme: schemes involving trees will need tree surveys to prove to the local council that a sound tree management plan is in place.

Housing and green spaces around Huddersfield.

Huddersfield in West Yorkshire

This town in the district of Kirklees enjoys a central position in the north of England. It’s an attractive location, offering a range of housing, excellent cultural opportunities, and being close to the Pennines, easy access to wild open spaces.

Huddersfield is a regionally important town for business retail and industry, with excellent rail links to Leeds and Manchester, and is close to the M62. Business sectors include advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical technologies and digital industries.

Kirklees Council manages Huddersfield, and it aims to encourage tree planting to offset development across the town. Kirklees has an estimated 8,170 hectares of trees – 20% tree coverage – and more tree planting is planned. The White Rose Forest Action Plan aims to plant seven million trees across Kirklees, equivalent to 3,500 hectares of woodland across the region by 2025, and has aspirations to plant millions more trees beyond that.

Planning outlook

The Huddersfield Blueprint, a 10-year vision for the town centre, is overseeing investment and regeneration schemes that will provide new opportunities for residential development and businesses. It also aims to enhance the quality of green public spaces which include St Peter’s Gardens, St George’s Square, Castle Hill and Greenhead Park.

Through The Huddersfield Town Centre Living Plan, Kirklees Council wants to create opportunities for good value town centre living for commuters to Leeds and Manchester, capitalising on the number of character and heritage buildings with potential for restoration and repurposing. Its new Cultural Heart and town park aim to make Huddersfield an attractive option to nearby cities for young professionals with an attractive lifestyle culture and heritage. The council is working with partners such as Homes England, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Historic England to overcome the challenges of developing historic buildings and make them viable.

In terms of future development, the local council has identified development sites coming forward in phases, and areas of opportunity beyond these sites with strong market potential.  

Trees and the planning system

While trees and tree planting provide environmental benefits, protected trees can disrupt development projects. A tree survey can help developers work within the regulations and recommend the best course of action for existing trees on site and allow their project to gain planning permission.

Tree surveys will be needed for any planning applications that impact trees on or in close proximity to a proposed development site. An application for planning permission submitted without a tree survey when one is needed risks delays or even a refusal from local authorities.

Protected trees

Local authorities protect trees: there are two main protections available: a tree preservation order can protect an individual tree, while conservation areas can protect multiple trees. Prior consent is needed before trees subject to these protections can be impacted by development works: damaging or destroying such trees can result in fines or even prosecution.

An arboricultural consultant conducting a tree inspection.

Tree surveys

BS5837 tree surveys

The first stage in the tree survey process is the British Standard BS5837 tree survey. During a site visit, arboricultural consultants will assess all trees present in the proposed development area and surrounding trees. The tree stock will be inspected for condition and quality. Tree surveys involve an examination of the root protection area around individual trees to assess how they would be impacted by the proposals.

Protected trees subject to tree preservation orders or in conservation areas will be taken into account during tree surveys.

Using a predetermined mitigation strategy, trees will be ranked into categories A, B, C, or U according to the trees’ health and ecological importance. The priority outcome is the retention of trees, and this applies to category A specimens in good condition. However, if high-value trees impede development plans, they could be relocated on the site or off-site. Tree removal may be recommended for poor-quality trees, especially those presenting a health and safety risk, with new tree planting recommended to compensate for their loss.

The tree surveyor will complete a tree report that will include an AutoCAD drawing indicating all trees present on the development site. Should further tree surveys be needed by a local planning authority, this will be explained by arboricultural consultants. Detailed tree surveys will provide local planning authorities with the information they need to recommend that an application for planning permission is granted.

Further tree surveys

A range of further tree surveys may be required depending on the findings of the BS5837 tree survey. These include tree safety surveys, a tree constraints plan, tree protection plans, or a risk assessment survey.

Other sites may require arborical supervision and more information provided by an arboricultural method statement or an arboricultural impact assessment.

A tree owner may also need to satisfy health and safety concerns or investigate subsidence risk from trees, while house buyers may be asked by their mortgage lender to provide a mortgage tree report. An ecological survey might be advised should habitats or species protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 be identified on a development site.

Looking for tree surveys in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire?

You need to obtain expert arboricultural advice, so it’s important to locate an arboricultural consultancy with experience in conducting tree surveys for the local planning authority you are dealing with. The firm must employ fully qualified arboricultural consultants who hold the correct licences.

Identifying the right firm to carry out your tree survey, and following the recommendations in their tree survey report, will put you a step closer to achieving planning consent.

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