Home to Sherwood Forest and the largest oak tree in Britain, Nottinghamshire places a high value on its trees. The county, which is famous for its nature reserves, has a major tree planting programme underway which aims to create new woodland and increase biodiversity. If you have a development project in mind and there are trees on or adjacent to the site, you will probably need a tree survey to accompany your planning application.
Nottinghamshire tree survey information
The relevant local planning authority will be able to tell you whether you need to submit a tree survey along with your planning application. Submitting an application without a tree survey may result in a refusal and lose you valuable time.
The tree survey will establish the ecological value of the trees in question and clarify whether any have Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) placed on them preventing their removal. Trees in conservation areas also have specific protections. The arboricultural surveyor will propose mitigating measures for trees on and close to the site to enable your plans to proceed.
Nottinghamshire and development
Protecting and boosting the county’s history and heritage is a key focus of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Annual Delivery Plan 2023-24. The council wants to attract investment, support its country parks, and oversee sustainable and well-planned residential and commercial development.
It is investing in green spaces and working on designating five new nature reserves to boost biodiversity and people’s well-being, along with improving air quality, promoting greener travel and improving the environment.
The council’s tree planting programme aims to plant 250,000 trees by March 2025 and create new woodland areas. There is also a Greener Highways Plan focused on tree management and green corridors, aimed at reducing pollution and flooding while increasing biodiversity.
Focus on Nature Reserves
Historically, Sherwood Forest was once one of the UK’s largest Royal Forests, spanning 100,000 acres. Also known as Birklands and Bilhagh, it was designated as a National Nature Reserve in 2002. It’s home to hundreds of species of animals, plants, bird and insect life, fungi and trees. The most famous tree is the Major Oak, the largest oak tree in Britain, believed to be between 800 and 1,000 years old and weighing an estimated 23 tons with a 10-metre circumference and a 28-metre canopy. The forest contains many other ancient oaks: timber from Sherwood Forest’s oak trees has been used for building over the centuries, and was used in the roof of St Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1790.
Stunning woods and parkland
Duke’s Wood Nature Reserve combines conservation areas with industrial heritage sites. This is the site of the UK’s first onshore oilfield, and on the industrial archaeological nature trail, some original nodding donkey pumps have been restored. The woodland contains oak, birch, ash and hazel trees and wildflowers including wild orchids and the rare Vetch Nissola.
Rufford Abbey Country Park comprises 150 acres of mature woodland and parkland, while other beautiful nature reserves can be found at Bestwood, Cotgrave and Holme Pierrepont.
If you are planning a development scheme and the local authority requests a tree survey, the first step is to get in touch with an arboricultural consultancy with experience in dealing with the type of tree reports needed to satisfy your local planning authority. The first step is to have a BS5837 tree survey carried out.
The BS5837 tree survey
An arboriculturist will make a site visit and assess individual trees on, or adjacent, to it. They will identify all the species present and evaluate the structural condition of the trees, assessing their size above and below ground and will grade them according to their ecological importance. The equipment used may include a Trimble device, a laser measurer, and tape measures. Arborical consultants will also produce a written tree management report that will identify high-quality trees that need to be retained and explain the appropriate action to take to compensate for the loss of lower-quality trees. A PDF and AutoCAD tree constraints plan drawing will be produced that can be overlaid onto drawings and plans.
This survey may satisfy the local council, or you may be asked to provide further surveys. These include Impact Assessment, Method Statement and Tree Protection plans, along with Arborical Supervision, Site Monitoring, and Tree Protection Plans. Remember that damaging or removing trees without planning permission can lead to a criminal prosecution or heavy fines.
Other types of tree survey include a Tree Condition Survey which may be needed to assess health and safety issues for any potential liabilities, while a Mortgage Tree Report is often needed by homeowners to satisfy their mortgage lender or insurer. This survey assesses trees from a health and safety aspect to see if they pose potential risks, and it might recommend that remedial tree works are carried out.
Use an experienced arboricultural consultancy
If you need a tree survey in the Nottingham area, it’s important to get in touch with an arboricultural consultancy that’s experienced in carrying out the type of tree report that you need, whether it’s to support planning applications, or for any of the various reasons mentioned above. Consultants should be fully qualified, hold relevant licences and accreditations and the company should have good reviews.