Tree Surveys in the North West

When you find a protected tree on your development site, it can be a concern that your project will face indefinite delays. However, our tree surveyors undertake effective tree surveys to eliminate likely issues on developments in North West England.

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Trees Across North West England

North West England houses the five counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, and within these counties are numerous notable towns and cities such as Blackburn, Chester, Liverpool, Northwich, Preston, St Helens and Warrington to name only a few.

Despite possessing just 7.6% of woodland cover – distinctly low compared to many of the country’s other regions – the North West has a wide range of areas dominated by the presence of trees. For example, many tourist attractions in North West England are wooded, including Delamere Forest in Cheshire, the Forest of Bowland and Fair Glen in Lancashire, and various sections of the Lake District in Cumbria.

Even with fewer forests and a lower overall count of trees compared to other regions in the United Kingdom, trees and urban forestry are still present in the area and cause just as much of a stumbling block to planning projects. More specifically, if a land development could impact a tree under an existing Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or in a recognised conservation area, a tree survey will be needed before the corresponding local planning authority will even consider granting planning permission.

North West Woodland

The number of trees and woodland areas in the North West varies from county to county, and certain trees in these counties are protected by dedicated policies implemented and imposed by the relevant councils.

Below, we outline the circumstances regarding the presence of trees in each North West county:


According to the Cheshire Wildlife Trust, less than 5% of Cheshire has tree cover, causing a recent influx in plans to plant thousands of new trees across the county in the coming years. That said, it doesn’t mean that Cheshire is suffering from a devastating lack of trees, as even the administrative district of Cheshire West and Chester alone has an estimated 28,000 trees and over 500 hectares of woodland from the district’s total 91,660 hectares.

Trees in Cheshire are protected by:

  • Cheshire East Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Halton Borough Council
  • Warrington Borough Council


Considering the notable rural areas in Cumbria – particularly the Lake District – it will come as no surprise to discover that Cumbria is considered predominantly rural. Between 2000 and 2020, Cumbria lost just short of 13,700 hectares of tree canopy cover, equating to a loss of 17%. Current and future initiatives aim to significantly increase the number of trees in the county, and even now, trees and wooded areas account for 12% of the Lake District.

Trees in Cumbria are protected by:

  • Allerdale Borough Council
  • Barrow Borough Council
  • Carlisle City Council
  • Copeland Borough Council
  • Cumbria County Council
  • Eden District Council
  • South Lakeland District Council

Greater Manchester

Various schemes led by ‘City of Trees’ and ‘The Northern Forest’ aim to extend the number of trees in Greater Manchester as a method of decreasing carbon and increasing oxygen in the county. However, a strategy from the City of Trees named ‘All Our Trees: Greater Manchester’s Tree & Woodland Strategy‘ claims that, back in 2018, there were an estimated 11.3 million trees in the county.

Trees in Greater Manchester are protected by:

  • Bolton Council
  • Bury Council
  • Manchester City Council
  • Oldham Council
  • Rochdale Borough Council
  • Salford City Council
  • Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Trafford Council
  • Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council


From the county’s 3,079 km2, 80% of Lancashire is classed as rural. In a ‘National Inventory of Woodland Trees‘ from the Forestry Commission, it is claimed that, outside of recognised woodland areas, there are just short of 1,600 trees. Even with primarily countryside areas, the local authorities intend on enhancing the standard of biodiversity by planting more trees, including an initiative in Chorley to plant 116,000 trees by the year 2025.

Trees in Lancashire are protected by:

  • Blackburn with Darwen Unitary Council
  • Blackpool Unitary Council
  • Burnley District Council
  • Chorley District Council
  • Fylde District Council
  • Hyndburn District Council
  • Lancashire County Council
  • Lancaster District Council
  • Pendle District Council
  • Preston District Council
  • Ribble Valley District Council
  • Rossendale District Council
  • South Ribble District Council
  • West Lancashire District Council
  • Wyre District Council


Due to housing a number of towns and cities – such as Birkenhead, Liverpool and many others – the county of Merseyside is dominated by urban areas. In fact, Merseyside has the ninth-highest percentage of urban areas in the United Kingdom (39%). To counteract the dwindling rural features across the county, local authorities are pledging to plant 200,000 trees across Merseyside.

Trees in Merseyside are protected by:

  • Knowsley Council
  • Liverpool City Council
  • Sefton Council
  • St Helens Council
  • Wirral Council

Tree Survey Assessments

Although there are several forms of arboricultural assessment, such as an arboricultural impact assessment, arboricultural method statement, arboricultural risk assessment, arboricultural method statement, tree protection plan or arboricultural surveys for tree safety or a mortgage provider, the most common is the BS5837 tree survey – a British standard survey that covers the primary concerns and considerations of any land development involving protected trees. A BS5837 tree survey will consist of a licensed tree surveyor analysing the site and categorising each tree based on quality and value as part of a detailed and efficient service.

Through carrying out this process, the arboriculturist can determine whether each tree should be retained, removed elsewhere on or outside of the site, or destroyed. The priority option would be to retain trees with the condition that the project is altered to allow it to go ahead, even if it could potentially act as an obstruction. However, if there is no alternative in the planning project or if the tree would benefit from being moved elsewhere or reduce risk by being destroyed, the tree surveyor will be left with no choice but to action these next steps.

After the tree survey, the actionable next steps recommended by the arboriculturist and extensive details from the assessment will be outlined in a tree survey report. The purpose of tree reports is to give everything the local planning authority needs to grant a planning application, such as multiple forms of evidence from the survey, acknowledgement of trees protected by tree preservation orders (TPOs) and conservation areas, and impactful advice that will prevent unnecessary damage to natural assets and allow the project to move forward.

Arboricultural Surveyors

Whether trees on your site could affect your development or suffer damage as a result of your development, you will need a tree survey to determine the actual impact. Using an experienced arboricultural surveyor’s guidance, mitigation measures that will reduce or entirely eliminate the disturbance of local trees can be implemented, appeasing the local authority and bolstering the application for planning consent.

Our arboriculturists are qualified, experienced, reliable and capable of conducting a broad range of high-quality tree surveys and a professional service to support the planning process in the North West of England, as well as other sections of the United Kingdom. If you would like a free quote for a tree survey before making your decision, simply get in touch and provide us with details of your project and site.

You can speak to one of our friendly team by calling us on the number at the top of this page, filling out our helpful quote form or through any of the communication options on our ‘contact‘ page. Our arboricultural consultancy can then give you an accurate price based on this information, and if you are happy to proceed, we will arrange a site visit to undertake a tree survey at an opportunity that is suitable for you.