Everything You Need to Know About Tree Surveys
Why do I need a tree survey?
If you have been asked for a tree survey, there are a number of reasons why you may need a tree expert to provide one. Your local authority may demand a tree survey to accompany your planning application if they are concerned that your development may impact trees or vegetation near, or on your development.
Sometimes, your lender or bank may ask for one for a mortgage approval or your insurer may need a tree survey to assess the condition and safety of your trees.
You could also need a tree survey to apply for works to trees protected by a tree preservation order.
Whatever you need a tree survey for, our team of friendly, expert tree consultants are waiting for your call.
What is a BS5837 Tree survey?
You local council has policies that protect trees in your area. Any time you are developing existing buildings or on land proximate to trees, a so-called BS5837 tree survey is generally required by your local council’s planning office before they will consider your development proposal (a BS5837 tree survey is often a ‘validation requirement.’) This is because whether you wish to construct a small house extension or a 500 unit commercial development, your council deem that it could negatively affect the surrounding trees.
Usually all trees over a 7.5cm diameter need to be included in the BS5837 tree survey–though they don’t all have the potential to constrain your development. This includes off-site trees and other vegetation within 10 metres of your site boundary. The BS5837 tree survey must include the species of tree, its orientation as well as dimensional and root protection area data. Of course, a BS5837 tree survey would also include notes about its structural and physiological condition. Other features such as shrub areas, hedges, or regenerating woodland must also be included.
In your BS5837 tree survey, the trees’ positions are of particular importance and should be marked up on a topographical survey or OS tile. This will ordinarily show all relevant site features, including existing buildings, roads, street lighting, drains, walls, fences and everything in relation to what is being proposed and possible constraints to root development.
We have tree experts that can cover nearly all of the UK, although the majority of our tree survey work is done near London, Surrey, Kent, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.
Why not contact one of our BS5837 tree survey arboricultural consultants to chat about your site and how to progress your planning application where trees are a material constraint?
What is a Tree Preservation order?
Tree Preservation Order protection is afforded to trees under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. It is especially important to have a tree survey undertaken before works to a tree that is protected by a tree preservation order as this is very likely to require the special consent of your local council’s planning office before the works can be undertaken.
This can take up to 8 weeks for the council to provide a response, though, there are exemptions .e.g if your tree survey shows that the tree is "dead, dying or dangerous", or meets other exemption criteria, you may not have to make an application at all–or can get it fast-tracked.
Only a qualified and insured tree survey consultant can make this judgment call, and you should always seek their advice if you are concerned over tree preservation order trees.
Mortgage lenders often ask for a tree survey, though even when they do not ask for this as a condition of the mortgage, it is often an excellent way to get a sense of what trees are on or adjacent to your property and how they can affect you. Usually you will find out that you have great trees that are a danger to no one, but it is always best to err on the side of caution and have a tree survey undertaken by an insured and qualified professional tree surveyor, so that you don't end up buying a house next to a huge, mature tree, that is rotten and needs to be felled–at your expense.
Of course, tree surveys for condition and safety are also undertaken to provide peace of mind for homeowners around the country, as well as discharging their obligations under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957.
Although most of our tree survey work is done in the South of England, we also cover Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Leeds, Bradford, Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Shropshire, Staffordshire, east and west Mildands and Border Counties.