Trees and the Planning Process

Treecall Consulting Ltd have extensive experience of dealing with trees, and with planners when trees become caught up in the planning process.  We routinely provide support to our clients by carrying out tree surveys in accordance with British Standard 5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction - Recommendations’, we help tree owners engage with local authority tree officers and we can provide reports to show how trees will be protected during construction.  We can also help our clients if planning consent is refused and an appeal is reasonable.

Trees are an important part of the planning process in two ways;

Trees may be protected by a tree preservation order (TPO) or be in an area designated as a conservation area.  

They may also be present on sites where there are proposals to build structures that require a planning application to be submitted to the local planning authority (LPA).  Treecall Consulting Ltd has extensive experience of helping clients deal with this aspect of site management.

Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas

Neither a TPO nor a conservation area designation prevent management of trees on a site.  It is merely a mechanism by which the LPA become involved in any proposed work to a tree.  The LPA have a duty to protect trees that are contributing to the public amenity and character of an area.  When they do this they become an important part of the decision-making process for that tree. 

Any work that a tree owner wishes to undertake on a protected tree (apart from exceptions, see below) must be presented to the LPA in the form of an application that sets out what trees are involved, what works are proposed and why they are needed. The application takes eight weeks after which time, if the LPA agree the work is reasonable they will grant treesconsent. If they disagree they will refuse consent.  At present LPAs do not charge a fee for this application process.

There is a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if the LPA refuse consent.  Again, the Planning Inspectorate do not currently charge a fee for making an appeal.

In conservation areas the situation is slightly different.  The ‘application’to the LPA is really a 6 weeks notification of proposed works.  If the LPA object to the work they must make a TPO in order to get control of the situation and prevent the work going ahead.

The tree preservation regulations allow certain works to trees without the need for a formal application.  These include work that is required by utility companies to maintain their service, work to allow unobstructed use of the highway and removal of dead branches or dead trees.  

If the LPA decide to make a new TPO they will notify the affected landowners and adjacent properties. 

Development Proposals

If you are submitting a planning application, you should be aware that all trees are a ‘material consideration’and will need to be properly assessed as part of the supporting documents.

The most frequent way Treecall Consulting becomes involved in planning applications is by the architect sending us a topographical survey of the area.  We then use this to carry out a tree survey, collecting relevant information so that we can give advice about tree impacts to the architect.  We have to follow the advice in the British Standard, BS 5837:2012, 

Once a final layout has been produced we write a report that sets out how the development will affect the existing trees, and what can be done to manage those impacts so that trees are not compromised.  Sometimes, that means trees need to be removed and sometimes the existing trees are a major constraint on what can be achieved with development on a site.

Often the report that is forwarded to the LPA includes an arboricultural method statement that sets out the details of how the tree-sensitive operations during the construction stage will be carried out.

Treecall Consulting Ltd work closely with clients, architects, planning consultants and planning officers and tree officers to find a solution that is acceptable to the client and the LPA. 

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December 6, 2018

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