Tree Surveys in the South East

Trees are capable of obstructing any planning project, including developments staged in South East England. Fortunately, our expert arboriculturists are situated all over the country to provide tree surveys and tree reports, removing any issues caused by trees and satisfying the strict requirements of the local council.

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South East England Trees and Arboriculture

Nine counties are contained within the South East region, including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex. Across the counties within the region, the largest towns and cities by population include Brighton and Hove, Milton Keynes, Portsmouth, Reading, Slough and Southampton.

Formed from picturesque countryside and quaint towns and villages, the South East boasts of a combination of old and new components. Notable attractions located outdoors include Basildon Park, Garth Park, Godinton House and Gardens, the Isle of Wight Coastal Footpath, Mote Park, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, Tilgate Park and Westgate Gardens.

Statistics from a report on the National Inventory of Woodland and Trees in the South East states that the region contains 270,084 hectares of woodland, equating to 14% of the total land area. It also estimates a total of 10.6 million live trees and over 453,000 dead trees outside of recognised woodland areas in the region. Protecting such a high number of trees and wooded areas is only possible, however, through efforts made by the local authorities, particularly when it comes to potentially disruptive developments.

Tree preservation orders (TPOs) and conservation areas are used by the local council and the tree owner to protect individual trees and groups of trees in the South East of England. Bypassing these restrictions, ensuring that the correct steps are taken to satisfy the local councils, and gaining planning permission on development sites in the South East can be achieved by hiring a licensed arboriculturist for a tree survey.

Woodland Across the South East

Borough, district and county councils throughout the South East of England enforce policies that eliminate any needless potential damage to protected trees under a tree preservation order (TPO) or trees within a listed conservation area.

For more insight into how local authorities protect trees across the South East, you will find examples of initiatives intended to plant new trees and preserve existing trees in each of the nine counties below:


With 18,304 hectares of woodland, 14.5% of the land area in Berkshire is considered wooded and occupied by trees. Ash dieback has posed a problem to trees in the Berkshire area, with 600 trees needing to be felled in West Berkshire alone after discovering that around 95% were affected by the fungus. West Berkshire Council lead the way in counteracting issues caused by ash dieback, including an ongoing initiative that encourages residents to plant trees in the county.

Trees in Berkshire are protected by:

  • Berkshire County Council
  • Bracknell Forest Borough Council
  • Reading Borough Council
  • Slough Borough Council
  • West Berkshire Council
  • Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council
  • Wokingham Borough Council


A quintessentially rural part of the country, over a third of Buckinghamshire is registered as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Elsewhere, the county features an assortment of forests, hills, rivers, valleys and vales. Despite this, however, local councils remain driven to retain the existing standard of the environment and build upon it to reach new heights. Buckinghamshire County Council’s Bucks Tree Mission, for example, planted more than 543,000 new trees between November and December in 2021 alone.

Trees in Buckinghamshire are protected by:

  • Aylesbury Vale District Council
  • Buckinghamshire County Council
  • Chiltern District Council
  • Milton Keynes Council
  • South Bucks District Council
  • Wycombe District Council

East Sussex

A recording in 2010 estimated that tree canopy cover extended over 27% of East Sussex’s total land area. Ten years later, however, just short of 51 hectares of tree cover was lost. In response to this, East Sussex County Council has pledged to plant new trees, specifically in urban areas such as Bexhill, Eastbourne and Seaford.

Trees in East Sussex are protected by:

  • East Sussex County Council
  • Eastbourne Borough Council
  • Hastings Borough Council
  • Lewes District Council
  • Rother District Council
  • Wealden District Council


An estimated 75% of Hampshire is perceived as rural by the local council, with 21.8% of the county’s population occupying countryside areas. Additionally, 22% of the Hampshire county is covered by trees. Even with such a significant proportion of rural areas, the Hampshire County Council Tree Strategy shows an intention to increase the number of trees by a further one million trees by the year 2050.

Trees in Hampshire are protected by:

  • Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council
  • East Hampshire District Council
  • Eastleigh Borough Council
  • Fareham Borough Council
  • Gosport Borough Council
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Hart District Council
  • Havant Borough Council
  • New Forest District Council
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Rushmoor Borough Council
  • Southampton City Council
  • Test Valley Borough Council
  • Winchester City Council

Isle of Wight

As an island separate from mainland England, the local council must ensure a strong standard of biodiversity while allowing developers to stage projects on the island. Currently, 85.61% of the Isle of Wight is rural, and even with the limited opportunities for forest areas, the county has over 1,000 hectares of woodland. Woodland areas include Bouldnor, Burntwood, Brighstone, Combley Great Wood, Firestone Copse and Parkhurst Forest, and Forest England intends on increasing the number of trees between 2017 and 2027.

Trees in the Isle of Wight are protected by:

  • Isle of Wight Council


Possessing more ancient woodland than any other county in any of the British Isles, Kent is home to 22.5% of the ancient woodland across the South East. With areas that display a mix of woodland and greenfield land, how far the tree canopy spreads varies from place to place, ranging from as little at 4% in Thanet to as much as 30% in Sevenoaks. Overall, the average tree canopy cover in Kent stands at 17%, and Kent County Council want to build on this, particularly in the Kent Downs area.

Trees in Kent are protected by:

  • Ashford Borough Council
  • Canterbury City Council
  • Dartford Borough Council
  • Dover District Council
  • Folkestone and Hythe District Council
  • Gravesham Borough Council
  • Kent County Council
  • Maidstone Borough Council
  • Sevenoaks District Council
  • Swale Borough Council
  • Thanet District Council
  • Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council


Recognised as a primarily rural county, Oxfordshire has more than 17,000 hectares of woodland, and around 4.4 million trees are located in non-woodland areas. That said, the local authorities want to enhance forestry in the county, with Oxford City Council planting more than 10,000 new trees in recent times, and independent initiatives such as the Oxfordshire Tree Scape Project keeping tabs on opportunities to plant new trees and develop new wooded areas.

Trees in Oxfordshire are protected by:

  • Cherwell District Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • South Oxfordshire District Council
  • Vale of White Horse District Council
  • West Oxfordshire District Council


Due to the relatively close proximity to London, much of Surrey is made up of towns and villages, making it more urban than rural. Despite that, a National Tree Map produced by aerial mapping company Bluesky discovered that Surrey has the highest concentration of trees out of all counties in England and Wales. Surrey County Council and the corresponding borough and district councils want to make the county carbon-neutral by 2050, and of the tasks needed to achieve this goal, one includes the requirement to plant 1.2 million new trees by the year 2030.

Trees in Surrey are protected by:

  • Elmbridge Borough Council
  • Epsom and Ewell Borough Council
  • Guildford Borough Council
  • Mole Valley District Council
  • Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
  • Runnymede Borough Council
  • Surrey County Council
  • Surrey Heath Borough Council
  • Tandridge District Council
  • Waverley Borough Council
  • Woking Borough Council

West Sussex

Through the retention of characteristics that are commonly associated with the countryside such as idyllic villages, scenic roads and valuable woodland, West Sussex has been able to keep stock as a rural location despite the growing number of developments across the county. Alongside the highway network alone, there are between 500,000 and one million trees in West Sussex, and the number is only likely to grow, with West Sussex County Council’s donate a tree scheme encouraging inhabitants to plant a tree of their own.

Trees in West Sussex are protected by:

  • Arun District Council
  • Chichester District Council
  • Crawley Borough Council
  • Horsham District Council
  • Mid Sussex Council
  • West Sussex County Council

Surveying Trees on a Development Site

The most suitable type of tree survey will be determined by the intentions of the client and the purpose of the assessment, ranging between a tree constraints plan, tree protection plan, arboricultural method statement, arboricultural impact assessment and tree inspection services. For most clients, however, a BS5837 tree survey – the primary form of tree assessment – will suffice and tick every box. On the day of a BS5837 tree survey, a qualified tree surveyor will visit the development site and analyse all trees present before grading each tree by condition and value. Based on the grading given to each tree, the arboricultural consultant will be able to gauge the necessary next steps.

In any instance, the priority outcome would be to retain as many trees as possible, especially if they are in good condition or hold value. Alternatively, trees and other vegetation that are an unavoidable obstruction to the design, demolition and construction work would need to be relocated elsewhere inside or outside of the site. Or, if they are hazardous to individuals on the site or simply aren’t worth relocating, they will be destroyed and a new tree will be planted as compensation for the effect losing a tree species has on the quality of the environment.

Immediately after any tree inspections, a tree report will be created by the arboricultural surveyor to reflect the outcome of the tree survey and the measures they developed for trees on the site. Once passed on to the local planning authority, the tree survey report will play a key role in the process of achieving a successful planning application, as an arboricultural report will eliminate any concerns and restrictions involving trees on the site in the eyes of the planning officer.

Professional Tree Experts

With the relevant practical experience, qualifications, accreditations and training, all of the arboricultural surveyors in our knowledgeable team are capable of performing professional tree surveys and producing detailed reports to bolster your application for planning permission. From the trees surveyed, the tree consultant in charge of the arboricultural survey can compile all detailed information into a tree report to greatly strengthen planning applications, taking many factors into account, such as trees situated in the vicinity, soil decompaction with an air spade, and direct or indirect damage.

Reaching across the entirety of the United Kingdom, our dedicated team of tree consultants is capable of undertaking high-quality tree surveys in the South East, Greater London or other areas upon request for developers, tree owners, a mortgage provider for moving house, commercial clients, your design team or any other individuals in the planning process that require our reporting services for their new development to avoid delays, determine potential risks, address health and safety considerations, and meet specific requirements as set by your local authority.

After speaking to our team over the phone, using our quick quote form or through our other communication options on our contact page, we will provide you with a free quote for our excellent service of tree care, and once you are happy to move forwards, we can organise a date recommended tree surveys for the that suits your schedule. On the day of the tree survey, one of our professional tree surveyors will attend your site for the British standard tree survey and assist you with anything and everything needed to leave trees in a safe condition and grant a planning condition for your project.