Need a tree survey in Bolton?

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 Bolton?

Any development plans that will impact trees are likely to require a tree survey to provide local authorities with information about how trees will be managed. The survey involves a qualified arboriculturist inspecting all relevant trees and assessing their condition before compiling a tree report.

An aerial view of the Bolton area.

Bolton’s development strategy

Close to the West Pennine Moors, Bolton is surrounded by stunning scenery and Bolton Council has strict policies in place to prevent harm coming to the area’s many natural assets. To ensure the conservation of natural areas, specific rules apply to trees when it comes to development work. Despite this, Bolton is rapidly growing and the council aims to transform it by the year 2030, thanks to a £1 billion investment: the plan involves improving biodiversity and protecting natural assets in the town and surrounding area.

Current rules protect conservation areas, listed buildings, specific trees and hedgerows: Bolton has 26 listed conservation areas and consent from the council will be required to develop schemes in any of these. Information about protected trees and hedgerows can be found on the Bolton Council website.

First steps when considering tree surveys

The local planning authority will be able to tell you whether a tree survey is required: applying for planning permission without a tree survey when one is needed risks the application being refused and your project being delayed.

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

Tree surveys and protected trees

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

It’s the responsibility of developers to establish whether trees on a proposed development site are subject to a Tree Preservation Order or stand in a conservation area. 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.

Arboricultural consultants carry out a tree survey at ground level.

Tree surveys

To prevent any potential breach of rules surrounding trees and conservation in Bolton, the most advisable option is to have a BS5837 tree survey carried out by a qualified arboriculturalist. This British Standard tree report will give weight to an application for planning permission by adding supporting evidence and clarifying the necessary steps to take to ensure that laws protecting trees are adhered to.

All trees on or adjacent to a proposed development project will be examined for condition and life expectancy. Trees will be graded from Category A for the best specimens which must be retained, to Category U for the least valuable 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 planted. The arboricultural consultant will also consider any tree constraints in the tree assessment.

Managing tree stock

Adopting a pragmatic approach, arboricultural consultants will always aim to retain as many trees as possible, focusing on tree protection and taking tree safety issues into account. While tree consultants aim for the maximum number of retained trees, in some cases trees that pose an unavoidable obstruction to development can be felled or relocated.

The tree surveyor will compile the results into a tree report along with a CAD drawing known as a tree constraints plan outlining trees on the proposed development site. The tree assessment will contain information about retained trees, along with arboricultural method statements and arboricultural impact assessments. The tree survey will also provide information about the tree canopy area and tree root protection areas below ground which will help with making design demolition and construction decisions.

Tree surveys 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 is a wide range of specialist tree surveys that may be required, according to your development project. These include the specific needs of tree safety surveys, 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.

Are you looking for tree surveys in Bolton?

Identifying an arboricultural consultancy that employs fully qualified arboricultural consultants is the first step. The firm should have experience in completing tree surveys for the relevant local council as they will be familiar with their planning conditions.

The consultancy should be able to offer a wide range of tree services and provide tree surveys in support of planning applications. The right consultancy will be able to offer expert arboricultural advice about the optimal way to manage trees and help you decide on the best solution for your plans.

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