Wooded Areas in the North East
Within North East England are the counties of County Durham, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and certain sections of North Yorkshire. Popular towns and cities in the North East based on population include Newcastle upon Tyne, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees.
At the start of the 21st century, the Forestry Commission produced a report on the National Inventory of Woodland and Trees in North East England. In the report, they explained that only 12% of the land area in the North East is considered woodland, but that there are over 390,000 live trees and over 9,000 dead trees outside of these woodland areas. Between 1980 and 1999, the North East saw an increase in woodland areas of over 8,100 hectares, and the progress continues into the future, with tens of thousands of trees set to be planted in the North East by the year 2050.
Trees can pose problems to land development projects, obstructing key areas and, if they are protected trees or situated in conservation areas, creating a stumbling block for developers. Although the North East may not be the most densely population area in terms of trees and woodland, the local councils are pledging to increase the number of trees to promote biodiversity. Additionally, if there are fewer protected trees in circulation, it may be more difficult to gain permission to relocate or destroy them as part of a planning project. Fortunately, however, we offer high-standard tree surveys in the North East of England to enable land developments to continue, bolster planning permission applications put forward to the local authority and ensure that biodiversity doesn’t suffer.
North East Trees by County
Planning policies imposed by the local councils across North East England ensure that certain rules are followed when it comes to developing land that houses protected trees. Examples of this include specially designated conservation areas and Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on specific trees.
To emphasise the number of trees across each section of the North East and the local councils that protect certain trees, we have offered a brief overview of each county below:
Compared to England’s 11% average and the United Kingdom’s 13% average of woodland cover, County Durham has just 9%. As a result, initiatives from the broader Durham County Council – as well as more focused plans from the borough councils within Durham – aim to plant thousands of trees over the coming years to significantly enhance biodiversity in the area.
Trees in County Durham are protected by:
- Darlington Borough Council
- Durham County Council
- Hartlepool Borough Council
- Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Tyne and Wear
Formed from a conurbation of the towns and cities north and south of the River Tyne, the county of Tyne and Wear is predominantly urban. Due to this and the nature of locations such as Gateshead, Newcastle and Sunderland, trees and woodland areas are suffering from a significant scarcity, making it the primary reason for the North East Community Forest initiative to plant tens of thousands of trees by the year 2050.
Trees in Tyne and Wear are protected by:
- Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council
- Newcastle City Council
- North Tyneside Council
- South Tyneside Council
- Sunderland City Council
A countryside section of North East England, a distinct 97% majority of Northumberland is classed as rural. Despite this, half of the population of Northumberland lives in the 3% classed as urban. Woodland cover in the county stands at a healthy 19.7%, and the Great Northumberland Forest initiative only aims to increase the number of trees in the area, adding millions of trees by the year 2030.
Trees in Northumberland are protected by:
- Ashington Town Council
- Blyth Town Council
- Castle Morpeth Borough Council
- Cramlington Town Council
- East Bedlington Town Council
- West Bedlington Town Council
- North Northumberland Local Area Council
- Seaton Valley Community Council
- Tyndale District Council
Sharing similarities with Northumberland, North Yorkshire is a primarily countryside area, with 85% of the county considered rural. Not only that, but local councils have shown an intention to enhance woodland areas. For example, between 2001 and 2012, the county increased tree cover by 5,160 hectares. Likewise, there are further plans to build on this progress, with 70,000 trees planted by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust in 2021.
Trees in North Yorkshire are protected by:
- Guisborough Town Council
- Middlesbrough Council
- Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council
- Stokesley Town Council
- Yarm Town Council
BS5837 Tree Survey Assessments
Arboricultural assessments and tree surveys are available in several forms to suit different purposes, such as an arboricultural impact assessment or the creation of a tree protection plan. The common initial assessment that often encompasses all of a developer’s needs, however, is a BS5837 tree survey. It involves an arboriculturist physically visiting the site to conduct an inspection of the trees before issuing them with a grading based on condition and value.
Through the grading system, appropriate mitigation measures and tree care for each tree can be determined between retention, relocation or destruction. Ideally, as many valuable trees as possible can be retained, or if this isn’t possible due to the nature of the development project, they will be moved elsewhere within or outside of the site. Destroying trees is a last resort, but if they are in poor condition, not worth keeping or a potential risk to nearby people or buildings, it will be the most suitable course of action.
Upon completion of the tree survey, the arboricultural consultant in charge of the assessment will produce a tree report that details the findings from the survey along with their recommendations that will allow the development to move forward despite the presence of trees. Tree reports produced as a result of tree surveys carried out on the development site will then be submitted to the local planning authority to support the application for a planning condition.
As someone in charge of a land development project, you may be concerned that trees on your site could hinder your project. Likewise, if the trees are protected under a tree preservation order (TPO) or by being situated within a conservation area, you may be worried that you will be left with no choice but to avoid certain areas, or that you will find yourself in hot water if you interfere with them without direct consent from the council.
All of our arboricultural surveyors are experienced in undertaking tree assessments and carry the necessary qualifications and skills to successfully analyse development sites and construction sites where trees are present. All you need to do to access a free quote for your site and project is to contact our team and we will calculate how much a tree survey will cost before giving you time to decide whether or not you would like to go ahead with us.
If you agree to a survey with our team, we will work with you to arrange a desirable date and time to visit your site. On the day of the tree survey, one of our arboricultural consultants will arrive at your site to conduct the survey and your completed tree report will be with you within a few days of completion. The tree reports can then be passed on to your local planning authority to ease any qualms over operating on a site with potentially protected trees and push your project through planning.