If you have development plans in Leicester that might have an impact on trees, the local planning authority is likely to require a tree survey. A professional arboricultural consultancy will be able to assess the site and work out the mitigation measures needed to help your development site achieve planning permission.
Trees and woodland in Leicester
The city of Leicester contains 130 parks and an estimated 150,000 trees. The city is highly developed, with less than 1% of the city area classed as natural land, which is 34% lower than the national average. As a result, there are strict restrictions on developments that do not involve protection for nature. There are also plans to plant more trees and create woodland cover in the city which presents problems for potential land developments. Details of Leicester City Council’s policy on Protecting trees can be found on its website.
Tree surveys and development
If trees will be affected by your proposed development site, a tree survey will be needed to accompany your application for planning permission. Your local council will be able to clarify whether a tree survey will be needed. If it is necessary and you fail to provide one with your planning application, valuable time will be lost and you risk having planning consent refused. A tree survey will provide mitigating measures for trees on or adjacent to your site. Significant fines can be imposed for breaching rules regarding trees on a development site.
Two main protections exist – Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) which relate to individual trees, and conservation area status, which can protect groups of trees or woodland. Local authorities control these protections and permission is required to disturb protected trees. Developers are responsible for finding out whether certain trees are subject to these restrictions and information can be obtained from the local council’s planning department or tree officer.
If a development could impact trees subject to a TPO or in conservation areas, a developer must seek consent from the local planning authority, requesting it with a minimum of six weeks’ notice. A felling licence from the Forestry Commission may also be needed to fell trees not subject to TPOs and it is an offence not to obtain a licence if one is needed.
The BS5837 tree survey
The BS5837 tree survey is the first stage in the survey process and it involves a tree surveyor inspecting all the trees on a proposed development site to assess their condition. Trees are given a value according to a grading system of categories from Category A for the most valuable trees, to Category U, which relates to trees in poor condition or near the end of their lifespan.
The arboricultural consultant will establish the best approach for each tree and aim to retain the maximum number of trees. The future management of retained trees will be outlined and individual trees that pose problems for the proposed development may need to be relocated or in some cases destroyed. The tree survey will provide details of tree removal proposals along with compensation measures for the loss of lower-quality trees, which may involve planting new trees.
The tree report
As well as providing an assessment of all trees on the site, the completed British Standard BS5837 tree survey will include an AutoCAD tree map and details of the mitigation measures necessary to help tree owners take the proposed scheme through the planning process. If more detailed reports are required, this will be explained in the tree survey report.
Further tree surveys
If your site has specific issues requiring further investigation, further tree reports may be required by the local planning authority such as an arboricultural impact assessment, an arboricultural method statement or a tree constraints plan. Tree safety surveys may be needed to investigate potential risks, while other surveys include arborical supervision, site monitoring, and a tree protection plan.
Specialist tree surveys include a pre purchase tree report and a mortgage tree report which may be required by mortgage providers and examine trees for health and safety risks. Arboricultural consultants may also be required to make regular tree inspections.
Do you need Leicestershire tree surveys?
It’s important to get in touch with an arboricultural consultancy that employs fully qualified consultants who hold the correct licences and accreditations. The firm must also have experience in carrying out the type of tree survey requested by the relevant local authorities, and it’s a good idea to check their reviews to make sure they do an excellent job.