Trees are a ‘material consideration’ in planning system and all planning applications which may affect trees will require an Arboricultural (Tree) Survey to validate the application or for the site to be considered for inclusion in Local Planning Authority Development Plans.
An Arboricultural Constraints and Opportunities Survey (AC&O) assesses the health and structural condition of the trees and hedgerows on and adjacent to your site, which feeds into determining the quality of the trees. We record BS 5837 and veteran tree Root Protection Areas and also shading details where residential development is proposed, in addition to categorising the trees’ quality. We will advise you on which trees you should retain to assist with maximising your proposed development site’s value and to assist with gaining planning consent. This level of report is usually sufficient to accompany an outline planning application, unless access is expected to impact upon trees and hedgerows, where an Arboricultural Impact Assessment is likely to be required by the Local Planning Authority.
By engaging with our arboricultural team at an early stage, proposals can be designed to minimise conflicts with valuable trees, thus reducing the risk of planning permission being refused on arboricultural grounds. We can also undertake pre-purchase walkover or full surveys to assist with determining whether the site is developable.
An Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) is required for a full planning application and outline applications where access is likely to impact upon trees and hedgerows. An AIA compares the proposed site layout with the tree constraints and highlights any development design features which will have an impact on retained trees on and adjacent the site. Where there are impacts that cannot be resolved through site layout redesign, we propose mitigation measures to be taken.
The arboriculture team is experienced at developing solutions for identified arboricultural impacts, which helps to facilitate development, whilst retaining and protecting valuable trees.
An Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) is a much more comprehensive report than either a Constraints or Arboricultural Impact Assessment reports which fully details the working methodologies and specifications relating to tree protection and also covers any development works in close proximity to retained trees. These are often conditioned for approved reserved matters and full applications, but some Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) may require an AMS to be submitted and approved before approving development.
The AMS covers proposed tree surgery works, installation of tree protection measures (fencing and any required ground protection measures), works within Root Protection Areas, materials and construction details, arboricultural supervision, working methods, key personnel and timeframes for implementation.
Being able to complete an AMS to the standard required by LPAs requires not only good arboricultural knowledge, but also a pragmatic knowledge of construction techniques and materials and the juxtaposition between the two. Our arboricultural team have a broad experience of the construction industry and how arboricultural techniques interact with it. We have a successful track record in providing clients with AMS reports that are readily approved by LPAs.
Some development activities require supervision by an arboriculturist to ensure that retained trees are protected during construction works, from checking Tree Protection Fencing to undertaking works within a tree’s Root Protection Area (RPA). Arboricultural supervision is very often conditioned as part of planning consent. For example, our arboriculturists are experienced in supervising soil excavations to determine the presence and absence of tree roots within tree RPAs and where roots are found we can undertake root pruning where we have assessed this is not detrimental to the health and stability of the tree. This approach can often allow traditional construction methods to be used, where without this evidence base, planning permission may be refused.
Our arboriculturists have carried out supervision on a range of development sites, including the supervision of the installation of no-dig roads, driveways and footways constructed with cellular confinement systems e.g. three-dimensional geogrid subbases. Whatever your arboricultural supervision needs are, we can help with specifying and undertaking these to enable planning condition compliance and discharge.
Tree owners and managers owe a common law duty of care to all people and property under the Occupiers Liability Acts and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to prevent avoidable harm to persons and property from trees. Wardell Armstrong’s arboriculturists are qualified, experienced and geared up to undertake safety and risk inspections of trees, from an inspection of a single tree through to surveys involving tens of thousands of trees.
Tree Safety inspections look at the health and structural condition of the inspected trees and will identify defects that may lead to either branch or the whole tree failure and unlike less experienced arboriculturists, we also look at the tree’s adaptive growth responses to any identified faults, to ascertain the risk of failure. If required, we will propose remedial works to bring the risk of failure to ‘As Low as Reasonably Practicable’ (ALARP), which is a Health & Safety Executive requirement.
All of our staff employed on safety and risk management tree inspections/ surveys have passed the LANTRA Professional Tree Inspection qualification and some are licensed Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA) users. Where the risk posed by trees is to be quantified, we can do this using the QTRA system. We have experience of other Tree Risk Assessment systems, so if you use a particular system, we can use those too.
The Wardell Armstrong arboriculture team have working experience of planning and delivering safety and risk management surveys on behalf of housing associations and Local Authorities and recent years have undertaken tree safety inspections for ancient yew trees for the Church in Wales. We have experience of writing Tree Risk Management strategies for Local Authorities and the Football Association, so if you’re looking to formalise a legally defensible policy or strategy, we can do this for you too. Whatever, your requirements are, we are happy to discuss and advise appropriate cost-effective solutions for you to manage your trees in a legally defensible way.
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is an Order made by a Local Planning Authority (LPA) to protect trees and woodlands in the interests of amenity. All trees with a stem diameter of >75 mm located within Conservation Areas are also legally protected. These legal restrictions prevent tree works without permission from the LPA.
Wardell Armstrong’s team of arboriculturists have extensive experience in assessing the suitability of trees for TPOs using TEMPO assessments and have successfully challenged new TPOs. We can help you to navigate through the complex application process to gain consent to undertake works restricted by a TPO and Conservation Area status.
In our team we have over a decade of previous LPA Tree Officer experience, so we can help LPAs with TPO reviews, applications, policy and can provide Tree Officer cover.
If you have legal TPO planning enforcement action taken against you, you will need expert arboricultural advice in addition to legal advice. With our thorough knowledge and working experience of TPO/ Conservation Area legislation, we can help.
A woodland management plan gives land managers a structured way to plan and organise the sustainable management of woodland to a common industry standard.
The UK Forestry Standard sets out the UK government’s approach to sustainable forestry and woodland management, including standards and requirements, regulations and monitoring, and reporting. It applies to all woodland and woodland operations, regardless of who owns or manages it. We can help with UK Forestry Standard compliant management reports and plans.
The Forestry Act 1967 (as amended) provides the legal framework for regulating the felling of trees and woodlands that are not protected by TPO or Conservation Area status. A felling license is usually required (subject to exemptions) to fell more than 5 mᵌ of timber in any three-month period. We can undertake surveys to determine the volume of timber proposed to be felled and whether any of the exemptions to requiring a felling license are applicable. If a felling license is required, we can liaise with the Forestry Commission and apply for a felling licence on your behalf.