Tree Surveys in the East Midlands

Staging a land development in the East Midlands? If trees are present on your site, you will first need a tree survey before the local planning authority will even begin to consider granting planning consent.

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East Midland Wooded Areas

Home to the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland, the East Midlands contains an array of cities and towns such as Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Northampton, Lincoln, Chesterfield and Mansfield.

Considering that the East Midlands is 88% rural, it will come as no surprise to learn that a large portion of the region is wooded, with 79,871 hectares classed as woodland. Meanwhile, trees inhabit a significant amount of land away from forests in the East Midlands. Currently, there are an estimated 14.8 million live trees and nearly as many as 128,000 dead trees outside of woodland areas in the region.

Between Darley Park, Dovedale, Markeaton Park, Melton Country Park and the majority of the Peak District, the East Midlands has a multitude of rural attractions. It is also a popular location for undertaking land development projects, leading to a need for local councils across the region to impose conservation areas and tree preservation orders (TPOs) as a method of protecting trees that could otherwise suffer damage.

More often than not, if trees are present on a proposed development site, local planning authorities won’t even consider an application for planning permission until they are given a tree report detailing a tree survey conducted by a qualified arboriculturist. As such, tree surveys are a common component in the development process, and developers are required to factor in this feature in order to progress their project into latter stages.

Trees in East Midland Counties

For trees to be properly protected, specific policies from local councils must ensure that any and all potential developments aren’t carried out at the expense of trees and other natural assets on or near to the site.

With a breakdown of the presence of woodland, efforts to plant more trees, and the local authorities based in each county in the East Midlands, we explain the situation regarding trees in the region:


In a report on woodland habitats from the Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Partnership, it is claimed that woodland cover in Derbyshire stands at 19,500 hectares, and that this figure has increased by more than 2% over the last two decades. As well as a natural increase, there are incentives to guarantee an additional increase to the amount of trees in the county, including a free tree scheme from Derby County Council and an effort from the Woodland Trust to plant 250,000 trees to enhance the visual appearance and biodiversity value of an unused mine.

Trees in Derbyshire are protected by:

  • Amber Valley Borough Council
  • Bolsover District Council
  • Chesterfield Borough Council
  • Derbyshire Dales District Council
  • Erewash Borough Council
  • High Peak Borough Council
  • North East Derbyshire District Council
  • South Derbyshire District Council
  • Derby City Council
  • Peak District National Park Authority


Within the county of Leicestershire are an estimated 310,000 trees. However, alongside concerns that land developments could be a risk to these trees is the presence of ash dieback (hymenoscyphus fraxineus) – a ruthless fungus that spreads rapidly, moves through populated woodland, and grows within trees until resources can no longer feed them, causing them to die. An ongoing initiative from Climate Action Leicester and Leicestershire aims to counteract the damage of ash dieback, planting 20,000 trees per year between 2020 and 2025 to reach a goal of 100,000 new trees in the county.

Trees in Leicestershire are protected by:

  • Blaby District Council
  • Charnwood Borough Council
  • Harborough District Council
  • Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
  • Leicester City Council
  • Leicestershire County Council
  • Melton Borough Council
  • North West Leicestershire District Council
  • Oadby & Wigston Borough Council


Predominantly rural, Lincolnshire is primarily made up of small towns across vast countryside areas, leaving massive spaces between populated sections of the county. Despite the expansive outdoor areas in Lincolnshire, woodland in the county only equates to just over 4%. Currently, to increase the number of trees, Lincolnshire County Council are investing £169,000 into an exercise that pledges to plant thousands of new trees.

Trees in Lincolnshire are protected by:

  • Boston Borough Council Council
  • East Lindsey District Council
  • Lincoln City Council
  • Lincolnshire County Council
  • North Kesteven District Council
  • Sleaford Town Council
  • South Holland District Council
  • South Kesteven District Council
  • West Lindsey District Council


Sharing similarities with Lincolnshire, the county of Northamptonshire is formed from a significant amount of rural land, with small towns and villages scattered across countryside landscapes. Although many inhabitants live in developed towns across the county, over half of the population live in areas that are classed as rural. As for trees, numerous initiatives have looked to increase the number in the county, particularly from North and West Northamptonshire Council, who have already planted 150,000 trees and hedges.

Trees in Northamptonshire are protected by:

  • Borough Council of Wellingborough
  • Corby Borough Council
  • Daventry District Council
  • East Northants District Council
  • Kettering Borough Council
  • North and West Northamptonshire Council
  • Northamptonshire County Council
  • South Northants District Council


Famous for Sherwood Forest and Nottingham Forest Football Club, Nottinghamshire has several links to trees and woodland. However, the county also has a significant urban presence, with the city of Nottingham standing as the largest urban area in the entire East Midlands region. In an effort to balance the county’s priorities back in the favour of the environment, Nottinghamshire County Council pledged to plant 500 hectares of new woodland in 2021.

Trees in Nottinghamshire are protected by:

  • Ashfield District Council
  • Bassetlaw District Council
  • Broxtowe District Council
  • Gedling Borough Council
  • Mansfield District Council
  • Newark and Sherwood District Council
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Rushcliffe Borough Council


The smallest county in England, Rutland was previously absorbed by Leicestershire before standing separately from 1997 onwards. It houses Rutland Water – the largest manmade lake in the UK, equating to a size similar to Lake Windermere in the Lake District, and the county itself is located upland and considered rural. In 2021, Rutland County Council unveiled a report on climate change and the environment. As well as making many other statements on intentions to improve the standard of biodiversity in the county, the report insisted on retaining valuable trees in the area and planting more trees in the future on an ongoing basis.

Trees in Rutland are protected by:

  • Harborough District Council
  • Oakham Town Council
  • Rutland County Council

Tree Assessments and Reports

A British standard assessment, the BS5837 tree survey is the most common method of analysing trees on a site to ensure all the appropriate boxes are ticked prior to an application for planning consent. Other types of tree services include a tree protection plan or arboricultural method statement. Over the course of this type of assessment, however, a tree consultant visiting the site will gauge the value and quality of each tree on the site before issuing them with a grade. Then, using the specific grade, appropriate next steps can be taken between retaining the trees, relocating them somewhere else inside or outside of the site, or destroying them.

The ideal outcome from the tree work would be to come away with a large number of retained trees, or at least keep valuable trees by safely performing tree removal before moving them elsewhere. In some circumstances, however, certain trees can be in such poor condition or possibly even pose a risk to people or nearby infrastructure, meaning destruction is the only option. Alongside a description of the survey process and evidence from the site such as pictures and maps, all of the expert recommendations from the arboriculturist will be compiled within a tree survey report.

After the tree survey is complete and the tree report has been produced by the arboricultural consultant, the local planning authority will require tree reports as part of the application for planning permission. As it will provide effective next steps for moving the project through planning, the tree report is a key component in the planning process, and providing all trees are catered for, the planning department of the local council should see no issue with granting planning consent.

Qualified Tree Consultants

During any part of the development process, it is important to guarantee the strongest standard of service to avoid delays or potentially serious issues later down the line. All of our arboricultural consultants are experienced, qualified and licensed to ensure a tree survey and tree reports that contains all you need to correctly evaluate every tree on your site and meet the requirements of the local planning authority.

For a no-obligation quote on your East Midlands project, speak to our team and we can send you a rapid quote based on the necessary tree works for your site and development. You can get in touch via our ‘contact‘ page or over the phone using the number above. Once you’ve looked over the free quote we send you, we can work with you to plan a good time to visit your site, and our team of arboriculturists can help to move your project through planning and obtain planning applications.