Submit a tree survey

A tree may take a century to reach maturity, but it can be damaged in only a few minutes on a development site.

Irreparable damage is frequently done to trees in the first days of contractors occupying the site.

This damage is usually caused accidentally, because of a failure to appreciate the vulnerability of trees, particularly their root systems.

To protect against this, we require a tree survey to be submitted with any planning application where trees are on, or close to, the site.

This helps to ensure that trees on a potential development site are fully considered. In order to prevent damage to trees during construction the council also requires a tree protection plan as part of your planning application.

Meeting the right standard

We recommend that the tree survey and plan are carried out in accordance with British Standard 5837:2012 ' Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction’.

The Arboricultural Association can help you find an arboricultural consultant to provide a survey and plan for your site. In addition, the Institute of Chartered Foresters maintains a directory of forestry and arboricultural consultants. Your consultant can also give you expert guidance on other tree issues such as tree protection measures.

In some instances your planning application may not be registered if you fail to submit a tree survey and plan.

About a tree protection plan

The plan usually shows the position of temporary protective fencing but may include other measures such as ground protection. Protective fencing is used to keep machinery away from the roots and branches and prevent the storage of materials too close to the trees. The fencing needs to be in place before any work begins on site, including site clearance or demolition, and remain in place until all construction has finished.

If we grant planning consent for a site that contains trees we will often make tree protection a condition of that consent. Failure to protect the trees on your site could mean you are in breach of your planning consent and we may take enforcement action.

Our arboricultural officers are specialists in the area of trees and development and work closely with our planning officers. We can give you pre-application advice as part of the planning department's pre-application advice service .