Philip Wilson Arboriculture

Trees and development

Outline of good practice

 Good practice to ensure that development is in sympathy with the trees on a site is set out in British Standard 5837 (2005) Trees in relation to construction - Recommendations.

 The first three stages in the recommended procedure are envisaged to take place before a design has been drawn up:

1. Tree Survey.

2. Assessment of the conservation value of the surveyed trees.

3. Constraints Plan.

 An important constraint is the need to avoid soil disturbance, hence root damage, to nearby trees during site works.

In principle, the constraints are then accommodated in the design to minimize any conflict between the trees and the proposed development. In practice, competing interests often have to be reconciled, to the extent possible, in:

 4. Arboricultural implications assessment.

 When site movements have to be restricted in the interests of the retained trees, for example with fences or ground protection, the measures are set out in:

 5. Tree protection plan.

 It may also be necessary to conduct pre-development tree works, for example to make the site safe or to increase headroom for site traffic, which would be specified in a Schedule of Works.

 Typically, a tree report containing some or all of these elements is submitted, together with the design, to the local planning authority in support of an application for planning permission. The procedure is the same whatever the scale of the development, or whether you are a private individual or a corporate developer.

Summary of Example Report

A mobile classroom is to be located on one of two possible sites in the grounds of the primary school. These sites are evaluated in relation to the nearby trees.

Neither site can be disqualified owing to tree-related constraints, although Site ‘A’ is the more problematical.

At Site ‘A’, to avoid excessive root damage to a belt of large plum trees to the south east, the position of the mobile on the indicative plan should be moved at least 2m north-west. To avoid the fall of ripe fruit onto the access ramp, either it could be shifted a further 1.5m NW or the access ramp could be re-sited to the NW side.

Consideration of the effects of the trees at the two possible sites on lighting, public amenity and security also suggest that Site ‘B’ is preferable to Site ‘A’.