Need a tree survey in Swindon?

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 Swindon

If a tree is on or close to your development site, a tree survey is likely to be needed if you aim to obtain planning permission. A sound and reasoned tree survey will address environmental concerns and help make the planning process straightforward.

An aerial view of Swindon in Wiltshire.


Swindon Borough comprises 89 square miles and includes market towns and villages. Swindon lies at the heart of the M4 corridor and has excellent links to the UK which has helped make it a home to national and international businesses. However, it is in a beautiful environmental setting close to the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Thames Vale, which creates environmental constraints to development.

Development in Swindon

Swindon has plans for major development: it aims to regenerate the town centre and provide homes, jobs and attractive communities by supporting sustainable development and infrastructure in the right locations.

The Swindon Borough Local Plan 2026 wants to promote a blend of traditional and contemporary well-designed architecture alongside green spaces to protect the natural environment. There are allocated strategic development sites at Wichelstowe, Commonhead, Tadpole Farm and Kingsdown east of the A419.

Outside Swindon, rural development is to be located mainly at Highworth and Wroughton as they are the most accessible and have the largest range of facilities. Any development must take into account the area’s existing built characteristics and important features such as the historic landscape, while protecting trees and hedgerows.

Trees in Swindon

There are an estimated 40,000 trees in Swindon, which is home to one of England’s 10 new community forests. Over 500,000 trees will be planted over a five-year programme, to create 350 hectares of new woodland, making it more likely that development schemes will encounter trees. Developers must consider trees in their development plans when applying to Swindon Borough Council for planning permission.

Protected trees

Trees are given two protections: a tree preservation order can protect individual trees while a group of trees can be protected by being in a conservation area. Applications for planning permission submitted without a tree survey when one is needed could result in delays or even a refusal of planning consent. It’s worth noting that damaging trees without consent can lead to fines and prosecution.

Arboricultural consultants gather all the information required during a tree survey.

Tree surveys

The BS5837 tree survey

This is the initial British Standard tree survey to arrange. The BS5837 tree survey involves a tree surveyor inspecting all trees on the proposed development site and trees on the surrounding land. Each tree will be graded into category A, B, C or U, according to its ecological importance, condition, size, stem diameter and life expectancy.

Trees in category A have the highest value and need to be retained in development plans; however, if they present an unresolvable barrier to the scheme, and the plans cannot be altered to accommodate them, an alternative is to relocate them. Lesser quality trees may be destroyed, and new tree planting may be recommended to compensate.

The tree surveyor will adopt a pragmatic approach and recommend practical solutions for all trees on the site. The survey concludes with a tree report detailing the method used by the consultant. An AutoCAD drawing showing all trees present will also be provided, and the report will indicate whether further tree surveys are needed.

Further tree surveys

These can include an arboricultural method statement, an arboricultural impact assessment, tree safety surveys, a tree protection plan, a tree constraints plan, risk assessment, arborical supervision and site monitoring. An ecological survey may be required if protected species or valuable habitats are identified on the site.

Mortgage tree report

Before approving a mortgage application, lenders may request this survey to assess trees for potential hazards: remedial work may be needed to make a tree or trees safe. Recommended tree works may require tree surgery to be carried out.

Tree safety issues

A tree condition survey may be instructed by a tree owner concerned about a tree for health and safety reasons, or to investigate subsidence risk.

Do you need a tree survey in Swindon?

As you need professional advice that can be relied upon, it’s important to identify an arboricultural consultancy that employs fully qualified tree surveyors who hold the correct licences. The firm should also be experienced in carrying out tree surveys for the local planning authority you are dealing with. To help you decide, it’s useful to check a firm’s reviews to see whether they deliver a first class service.

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