Need a tree survey in Wolverhampton?

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Tree survey Wolverhampton

Being a built-up area with low levels of tree cover, planning applications involving trees in Wolverhampton will be closely scrutinised. Tree surveys are likely needed to satisfy the local council that trees will be managed correctly in any development scheme.

An aerial view over Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

Wolverhampton and development

Wolverhampton is part of the Birmingham and Black Country conurbation and was granted city status in January 2001. Benefiting from excellent road and rail links, Wolverhampton has seen major investment in regeneration projects across the city in recent years. Its key sectors include advanced manufacturing, building technology, business and professional services.

The City of Wolverhampton Council is consulting on its local plan to take the city to 2042. Its vision is to facilitate a thriving, mixed-use city centre, along with new housing and employment land to provide jobs. Aims include delivering sustainable development, building 10,300 new homes, and allocating 63 hectares of employment land with development focused on brownfield sites: green belt sites are not included in the development plans. Development will be at high density while protecting local character.

The Wolverhampton City Centre Area Action Plan (2015- 2026) aims to protect public green open spaces and encourage green infrastructure. Though limited as areas of nature conservation value, canal corridors in the city centre have been designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation.

Wolverhampton and trees

Predominantly urban, Wolverhampton has 3.9% tree cover (274 hectares) across its land area of 6,944 hectares, and 33% of this (120 hectares) is designated as Sites of Interest or Local Interest for Nature Conservation.

The city’s estimated 30,000 street trees and 250,000-400,000 trees in parks and open spaces are managed by the council, which is determined to protect the present tree stock and increase the number of trees planted as part of its Tree and Woodland Strategy for Wolverhampton 2019-2029.

Tree management

Wolverhampton’s main parks include West Park, East Park, Hickman Park, Fowlers Park and Bantock Park, which contain mature trees and woodland. The city has 750 tree preservation orders, mainly on private land, and 31 conservation areas. Trees are further protected by the Wolverhampton Unitary Development Plan, which aims to preserve and enhance the urban forest by ensuring trees are properly managed and maintained.

Opportunities will be taken to plant new trees and areas of woodland where appropriate on council land, and the removal of mature healthy trees will be discouraged. Tree preservation orders will be placed on trees in need of protection and trees removed with council consent must be replaced with species specified by the council. Other aims include enhancing the city centre with more trees, maintaining street trees, using native species in planting schemes and protecting ancient woodland.

Protection for trees

The two main protections are tree preservation orders which can apply to individual trees, and conservation area status which can include a group of trees. The city council controls tree protections and prior consent must be obtained before any works take place on trees subject to these safeguarding measures.

A tree survey in progress.

BS5837 tree surveys

The British Standard BS5837 tree survey is the baseline tree survey. It involves an arboricultural surveyor assessing all trees present in the proposed development site area and surrounding trees. Arboricultural consultants follow a mitigation hierarchy where the priority is tree retention. According to a tree’s condition, it will rank into a grading system from category A, B, C, or U. Certain trees in category A must be retained, however, if they prove an unavoidable obstruction to the development plans, the last resort of relocation on the site or off-site could be an option. Low-quality trees may be recommended for destruction with new tree planting to compensate.

The survey involves an examination of the root protection area around individual trees to consider how the proposals would impact them; it will also take account of protected trees subject to tree preservation orders or conservation area status to ensure that any legal obligation is fulfilled.

The arboricultural consultant will compile a tree report containing details of the survey process, the results, and any potential issues on the development site. Tree reports will include an AutoCAD drawing indicating all trees present, and any recommendations for further tree surveys needed. Tree reports prove to the local planning authority that a professional tree inspection has been carried out and if its recommendations are followed, a planning application can be granted.

Further tree surveys

Depending on the outcome of the BS5837 tree survey, further tree surveys may be needed, such as tree safety surveys, risk assessment surveys, tree constraints plans, or tree protection plans. Certain sites may require arborical supervision and an arboricultural method statement or an arboricultural impact assessment. Tree surveys may be needed to investigate a tree owner’s health and safety concerns or to assess subsidence risk: tree surgery may be required as a result.

If species or habitats protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 are identified on a development site, an ecological survey might be required. Mortgage lenders may require house buyers to provide a mortgage tree report to assess potential risk before approving a mortgage application.

Need tree surveys in the Wolverhampton area?

If your development project involves trees and you need a tree survey, it’s important to engage an arboricultural consultancy that’s used to carrying out tree surveys for the relevant local council. Check that it employs fully qualified tree surveyors who can offer you the correct information about the best way forward: by following the recommendations in their tree survey report, you will engage with the development process and be a step closer to achieving planning permission for your scheme.

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