West Midlands Forestry and Woodlands
The West Midlands region features the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and of course, West Midlands County. It also acts as an umbrella over an array of memorable towns and cities such as Birmingham, Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton, Telford and Solihull.
With a mix of cities and towns alongside expansive fields, the West Midlands is a region with a relative combination of urban and rural areas. In terms of popular countryside attractions in the region, notable examples include Malvern and Brueton Park, Sutton Park National Nature Reserve, Coombe Abbey Park, Elmdon Park and Sandwell Valley Country Park.
In a National Inventory of Woodland and Trees report, the Forestry Commission outlined the nature of individual trees and woodland across the West Midlands. It claimed that woodland cover in the region stands at 7.6%, equating to 98,474 hectares, and that woodland cover increased by more than 16,400 hectares between 1980 and 1997. However, in a region such as the West Midlands that has both urban and rural areas, it is important that the local county and district councils ensure that valuable trees situated in all areas are suitably protected.
Local councils hold protections over certain trees across the West Midlands through tree preservation orders (TPOs) and conservation areas. In order for developers to avoid potential issues with trees present on the site and gain planning consent from the local planning authority, they need to reach out to a trusted, reliable and qualified arboricultural surveyor for a tree survey on the plot of land.
Presence of Trees in the West Midlands
Over the West Midlands region, borough, county and district councils impose planning policies that prevent unnecessary damage to protected trees.
In the section below, we highlight every county in the West Midlands to demonstrate the level of tree cover, initiatives to plant new trees, and the local councils that protect trees in these areas:
Despite just 1% of Herefordshire being classed as woodland, the county is 95% rural and has an estimated 15% of tree cover. Even so, thousands of trees were planted in 2021 in an attempt to double this figure. Likewise, an initiative from Herefordshire Council allowed businesses, colleges, residents and schools across the county to apply for trees that could then be planted on their property.
Trees in Herefordshire are protected by:
- Herefordshire Council (formed from Hereford City Council, Hereford-Worcester County Council, Leominster District Council, Malvern Hills District Council, and South Herefordshire District Council).
Regarded as one of England’s most rural counties, Shropshire is estimated to be around 82% rural. Between Shropshire Council and independent initiatives such as Trees for Shropshire, plans are in place to ensure that the county has a far higher number of trees in the future. A report from Zero Carbon Shropshire, for example, claims that, by the year 2030, Shropshire should have reached a tree cover of at least 17% – surpassing the national average.
Trees in Shropshire are protected by:
- Shropshire Council (formed from Bridgnorth District Council, North Shropshire District Council, Oswestry Borough Council, Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council and South Shropshire District Council).
With sections of the Peak District dipping into the county, Staffordshire is considered rural. Around three-fifths of all residents in Staffordshire inhabit countryside areas, and although trees are present across the county, efforts to create new sections of woodland and plant a significant number of trees are ongoing.
Trees in Staffordshire are protected by:
- Cannock Chase District Council,
- East Staffordshire Council
- Lichfield District Council
- Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
- Stafford Borough Council
- Staffordshire County Council
- Stoke-on-Trent City Council
- Tamworth Borough Council
Split between rural and urban areas, Warwickshire is best known for being a county of historical significance, such as Warwick Castle and the birthplace of William Shakespeare in Stratford-on-Avon. The state of biodiversity in Warwickshire is set to be enhanced, with Warwickshire County Council ambitiously pledging to begin planting a tree for every resident in the county.
Trees in Warwickshire are protected by:
- North Warwickshire Borough Council
- Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council
- Rugby Borough Council
- Stratford-on-Avon District Council
- Warwickshire County Council
- Warwick District Council
West Midlands County
Although a large portion of the West Midlands region is rural, the majority of the West Midlands county is urban, particularly due to the presence of notable cities such as Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. To balance the abundance of developed areas, local councils across the county are staging tree-planting initiatives. Not only will this form a more stable balance and improve biodiversity, but it will also increase oxygen and decrease carbon.
Trees in West Midlands County are protected by:
- Birmingham City Council
- City of Wolverhampton Council
- Coventry City Council
- Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
- Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
- Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
- Walsall Council
- West Midlands County Council
Since the urban areas of Dudley and Stourbridge left the jurisdiction of the county to become a part of the West Midlands county, Worcestershire has been recognised as predominantly rural. Only 2.5% of Worcestershire is woodland, however, leading local councils to increase the number of trees across the county, including as part of a five-year plan starting in 2020 to plant 150,000 trees.
Trees in Worcestershire are protected by:
- Bromsgrove District Council
- Malvern Hills District Council
- Redditch Borough Council
- Worcester City Council
- Wychavon District Council
- Wyre Forest District Council
The Tree Surveying Process
A wide range of tree surveys and reports cater to the specific needs of various stakeholders, particularly developers and the planning department of the local council, but also such things as a tree protection plan, homebuyer tree reports or tree surveys for fulfilling a legal obligation. In most cases, a planning project would benefit most from a BS5837 tree survey – the baseline assessment for determining the value and condition of trees on a site before identifying suitable next steps that will enable the development to go ahead as planned.
In a British standard tree survey, a fully qualified arboriculturist will arrive on the site at a predetermined date and time to grade each tree. With a grading system based on value and condition, effective next steps can be developed between the options of retaining, relocating or destroying trees. Ideally, as many trees as possible will be retained, but if they are an unavoidable obstruction to the development, they will be relocated elsewhere on or off the site. As a last resort, trees that are in poor condition, hold little value or pose a potential risk will be destroyed.
For planning permission to be granted by the local planning authority that has jurisdiction over your site, you will need to prove that a qualified tree surveyor has inspected the site and provided suitable recommendations in the form of a tree survey report. Within the tree report, every detail of the survey and necessary next steps will be included alongside photographs and maps to outline everything the planning department will need to know about the project and every tree on the site, leaving no reason but to accept planning applications.
Possessing the required qualifications, training and experience, our arboricultural consultants are suitably equipped to undertake tree surveys, and with arboriculturists situated across the United Kingdom, we can arrange an assessment on your site in any part of the West Midlands. From there, one of the fully qualified tree surveyors from our arboricultural consultancy can assist your development process by gathering correct information about your site, using it to find the best way to solve tree problems that would otherwise hinder your plans.
Through speaking to our team, you can receive a free quote that is accurate to your needs, site and project. Contact us through our dedicated page, over the phone using the number at the top of this page or using our quick quote form above, and one of our friendly team will speak to you about your development and issue a no-obligation quote. Then, if you are happy to proceed, we can arrange a suitable time and date to carry out the assessment and help you to secure a planning application with one of our comprehensive tree reports.