Need a tree survey in Northampton?

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 Northampton

Situated centrally in the UK and 68 miles from London, a range of development is required in Northampton. However, tree conservation and tree planting are important to the local council and applications for planning permission that involve trees are very likely to need tree surveys to satisfy the council’s criteria.

A view over Northampton.

Northampton in west Northamptonshire

The county town of Northamptonshire and one of the largest towns in England, Northampton covers approximately 80 square kilometres, and its population was 249,093 in 2021. The town is governed by West Northamptonshire Council and Northampton Town Council.

It is a major employer and a centre for substantial retail trading and residential housing. While its historic shoe and leather industry has declined, specialist shoemakers remain in the town. The M1 motorway opened in 1959 south west of the town, and when Northampton was designated a New Town in 1968 it began to be a commuter town for London. The population grew as a major housebuilding programme got underway. Today, tourists are attracted to its waterways such as the river Nene, and the Grand Union Canal and the Oxford Canal meet here.

The Local Plan

The Northampton Local Plan 2011-2029 vision is for the town to play a key role in the Oxford-Cambridge corridor, provide a range of well-designed housing and a great quality of life for its communities, along with a thriving mixed economy and employment opportunities. The area is known for high-performance engineering, logistics and distribution due to its location in the heart of the country. New development must be geared to climate change and have a low environmental impact.

Green space

The council aims to protect and enhance green spaces, plant trees and create high-quality public open areas: there are 170 parks and open space covering 760 hectares of land. Its objectives are to enhance the town’s riverside setting and promote a network of green spaces rich in biodiversity, conserving natural habitats and species and improving the green infrastructure network.

Tree protection

Tree protection comes under the jurisdiction of local authorities. The two main protections that can be given to trees are tree preservation orders, which apply to individual trees, and groups of trees can be placed in conservation areas. Prior consent must be obtained before any works take place on trees subject to a tree preservation order or standing in conservation areas.

An arboricultural consultant plotting trees for a tree survey.

BS5837 tree surveys

The initial tree survey is the British Standard BS5837 tree survey. Here, an arboricultural surveyor will assess all trees present in the proposed development site area and nearby trees. Each tree’s health will be considered and a mitigation hierarchy, where the priority is tree retention, will be followed to decide on the optimal approach. Trees will be graded into categories A, B, C, or U, with category A catering for the highest quality specimens that must be retained. If such trees present an unavoidable obstruction to the development project, it may be possible to relocate them on or off the site as a last resort. Trees with lower ecological importance may be recommended for destruction with new tree planting to compensate.

During this tree survey, the arboricultural surveyor will examine the root protection area around individual trees to assess the impact of development plans on them. Any protected trees will be considered to ensure that any legal obligation is adhered to. Tree reports will explain how the survey was carried out, along with the findings including potential issues on the development site and any further tree surveys needed. Reports will include an AutoCAD drawing indicating all trees on the development site. The tree survey can be submitted to the local planning authority: providing that its recommendations are followed, the authority should be able to approve your planning application.

More detailed tree surveys

The BS5837 tree survey findings may conclude that further tree surveys are needed, such as tree risk assessment surveys, tree constraints plans, tree protection plans or tree safety surveys. Other possibilities include arborical supervision, an arboricultural method statement or an arboricultural impact assessment.

Tree owners may require a survey to investigate subsidence risk from a tree, or to satisfy health and safety concerns: in some cases, the services of a tree surgeon will be needed to resolve an issue. Ecological surveys may be needed if species or habitats protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 are found on a development site. A mortgage tree report may be required by mortgage lenders before they will approve a mortgage application.

Need a tree survey in Northampton?

If you need tree surveys, the first step is to identify an arboricultural consultancy that can undertake tree surveys for the local council you are dealing with. To be sure of receiving expert advice that will help you work out the best way forward to achieve planning permission, the arboricultural consultancy should employ fully qualified tree surveyors.

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