Need a tree survey in Hampshire?

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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Tree survey in Hampshire

For any proposed development scheme to succeed, precise details will need to be submitted to the local council before planning permission will be granted. If there are trees on or close to your site, the relevant local planning authority is likely to require a tree survey which must be carried out by a professional arboricultural consultancy.

The South Downs.

Hampshire and development

Hampshire, in southern England, is made up of several local authorities working to address the need for housing and development while protecting the natural environment and valuable habitat in their particular locality.

Hampshire is home to two national parks: the South Downs National Park which includes ancient woodland and heathland, and the New Forest National Park which contains three areas of outstanding natural beauty and several designated wildlife sites including Holly Hill Woodland Park and Crabtree Plantation. Planning considerations are of course especially high in these two areas.

Tree surveys and planning permission

A tree survey will be needed if a scheme is likely to impact trees on or near the proposed development site. Strict rules apply when it comes to planning applications for development that may affect trees and significant fines can be imposed if they are breached.

To find out whether a tree survey will be required, contact the local council which will offer advice before you submit a planning application. If it is a requirement and your application is submitted without one, valuable time will be lost, and the application may be refused. A tree surveyor will be able to give expert advice in their tree report and the proposed mitigating tree care measures will be considered by your case officer.

Tree protection

There are two main tree protections: a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and conservation area status. Both are controlled by local authorities and permission is needed before trees with such protections may be disturbed. A TPO can be placed on an individual tree, while several trees can be protected in conservation areas. Developers are responsible for finding out whether relevant trees are subject to these restrictions and permission will be needed before any work that will disturb protected trees takes place.

It’s important to check with the local planning authority or tree officer to find out if relevant trees are subject to a Tree Preservation Order or stand in a conservation area. It is also worth checking whether a felling licence from the Forestry Commission is needed to fell trees not subject to Tree Preservation Orders, and bear in mind that it is an offence not to obtain a licence if one is needed.

Arboricultural consultants carrying out a tree survey at ground level.

BS5837 tree surveys

The first stage in the tree survey process is the BS5837 tree survey. Here, a qualified arborist will carry out visual tree assessments to calculate the condition of all relevant trees. They will address health issues and assess the value of each tree using a grading system: the categories relate to size, quality, and value with specific outcomes for each. The trees are graded from Category A to U. Category A trees are highly protected, while low quality Category U trees may be in poor condition or at the end of their lifespan.

Arboricultural consultants will aim to preserve as many trees as possible and the tree report will give details of the optimal approach for each tree. If individual trees pose a problem to the development that cannot be resolved, they may need to be moved or destroyed, and new trees may be planted by way of compensation. The tree survey will identify the high quality trees that need to be retained and propose the best way to compensate for the loss of low quality trees.

The tree report

The completed BS5837 tree report will provide an assessment of all tree species on the development site, along with an AutoCAD tree map and details of the mitigation measures necessary to help the proposed scheme achieve a successful planning application. The arboricultural report will also inform tree owners about any other tree inspections or ecological survey work that might be required.

Further tree surveys

These include a tree constraints plan, tree safety surveys to investigate potential risks, a tree protection plan, an arboricultural impact assessment, an arboricultural method statement, arborical supervision, site monitoring, tree protection plans, and other tree care work.

Other types of surveys include tree condition surveys, a pre purchase tree survey, and a mortgage tree report which mortgage providers or insurers may require. Here, trees are assessed for health and safety risks to see whether they pose a potential risk of causing damage. A tree surveyor may also be required to make regular tree inspections, and a further ecology survey such as an inspection of wildlife habitats may be required.

Do you need to arrange a tree report in Hampshire?

The first step is to contact an arboricultural consultancy with experience in carrying out the type of tree surveys that your local authority requires. Make sure that the firm you choose has good reviews and employs consultants that are fully qualified and hold relevant licences and accreditations: their expert knowledge will help you to achieve your planning goals.

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