Birmingham Tree Surveys – Planning Acceptance Guarantee

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Tree Surveys in Birmingham for Planning Permission

If your site has a tree on or near it, the best way of eliminating any potential risk and meeting the legal obligation to gain planning consent from Birmingham City Council would be to book a BS5837 (British Standard) tree survey with experienced arboricultural consultants. This holds true whether you’re planning a simple extension to your home or a large mixed-use development. 

Birmingham is one of a select few ‘Tree Cities of the World‘. This international program, backed by the United Nations, measures cities against five core standards for the care and planning of urban trees and forests. Naturally, this status means that Birmingham’s one million plus trees are serious considerations for Planning Officers when they make planning determinations.  

Ultimately, your main concern is likely to be whether or not you need a BS5837 tree survey at all. There will be a firm ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, but the only body qualified to give it to you is your local authority. Every tree and every development is different, and something you may not see as a problem could well be. For example, a single tree about five or so metres from the edge of your development might seem inconspicuous. However, it could have roots that extend beneath your site that may be critically damaged by groundworks. 

Therefore, it’s wise to be alert to any possibility that your development process might have on trees. In fact, as time goes on, the chances of you needing a tree survey to obtain planning applications are only going to increase. As of 2019, Birmingham was covered by 48.81 square kilometres of tree canopy, and the tree planting efforts of organisations like Birmingham Trees for Life will likely see that canopy cover grow. 

So again, if you’re at all concerned about any trees on or near your site, get in touch with Birmingham’s development control department to get the definitive answer as soon as possible and avoid unnecessary delay to your development process and schedule.

Developing a Greener Birmingham

Birmingham is open for business, and there are plenty of opportunities for developers, businesses, and homeowners alike. 2021 will see the Paradise project in Chamberlain Square move closer to completion with the construction of the 280,000 square foot, 13-storey office block “One Centenary Way”. Over the next few years, this £700 million regeneration project will deliver offices, a hotel, and, crucially, housing. Outside of the city centre, the Local Plan includes provisions for 15,000 new homes across more than a dozen sites. If adopted, it’s likely that this will be a boon for Birmingham’s suburban economy. 

Corporations won’t be the only ones to benefit from this development drive. Whilst these gargantuan projects grab the headlines, they’re indicative of a rather reasonable attitude towards development in general that homeowners and small businesses can benefit from. However, no construction will be allowed at the expense of vital ecological features like trees. That said, planning Case Officers are not automatons. They’re professionals who make balanced decisions based on policy and evidence.

When Planning Officers grant planning consent, they need to be able to defend their decision. Without sufficient evidence, they can’t, and this is one of the (many) reasons why planning applications get refused. 

So, if you have a tree problem and want to get a successful planning application, you’ll need a BS5837 tree survey and tree constraints plan drawing—as a minimum.

Arbtech tree surveys
Arbtech tree surveyors in action.

Tree Reports and Your Development

If you need a tree survey report, your first port of call will be a BS5837 tree survey. But, before we set foot on your site, we’ll ask you key questions about what you’re planning to do, how and where. 

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The reason for this is simple; we want to get you through planning, first time – fast. 

We’ve been helping people solve their tree problems for 16 years, so we know that without this information, delays and disappointment are inevitable.

Once we understand your project, we will arrange for a fully qualified tree surveyor to visit your site for your BS5837 tree survey. They’ll assess the quality of any trees on your site, as well as those off-site that could reasonably cause an arboricultural impact by your proposed development process. Once they’ve done that, they’ll produce a tree constraints plan drawing that your design team can lay over their own plans and drawings. This AutoCAD and PDF document will be accompanied by tree reports that summarise the surveyed tree stock in general terms.

Birmingham’s #1 Arboricultural Consultants

Sometimes, especially for smaller developments like extensions, these tree surveys are sufficient. However, Birmingham City Council may ask you for further surveys (or you may decide they’re necessary). There are two broad categories of additional tree surveys, an Impact Assessment, Method Statement & Tree Protection Plan, and Arboricultural Supervision and Site Monitoring. These follow on in sequence, so if you need Arboricultural Supervision, you’ll need to have a Tree Protection Plan in place first.

Arbtech Tree Surveys in Birmingham – Hundreds of 5-Star Reviews

The need for a tree survey seldom comes as a shock, but it can feel like an unwanted expense. However, if you choose not to meet your legal obligations and damage trees without planning consent, the consequences can be severe. Birmingham City Council takes this activity seriously, even on private land. In 2020, the owner of a large property in the Four Oaks estate conservation area felled 20 mature trees attracting both the ire of neighbours and an investigation by the local Tree Officer. Currently, fines for illegal felling are high but capped. However, with the upcoming introduction of the new Environment Bill, these fines are set to become unlimited.

This risk really isn’t worth taking, either. 


Because we undertake somewhere in the region of 3,000 tree survey reports and ecological surveys every year so have helped tens of thousands of people solve their tree problems and gain planning applications.

We’ll do the same for you, too.

And in the (highly) unlikely event that we don’t, we’ll give you your money back.

No questions. No quibbles.


Our 30+ strong team of expert tree surveyors are all specialists in successfully securing a planning application, and they don’t get involved in subsidence claim work and rarely in appeals for Tree Preservation Orders (TPO). 

This means they’ve got 100% focus on getting you through the planning process, first time. 

Tree Survey Birmingham

Your tree surveyor will be a local expert too, with knowledge on the legal obligation you will have in regards to trees as a developer during design, demolition and construction works, Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and carrying out a British Standard arboricultural survey.

We’re a national operator, but the balance of our staff are home working. This allows us to employ people who have lived and worked in the region they cover for years, if not decades. So, as well as having that niche local knowledge of how Birmingham City Council make planning determinations and the local interest groups that routinely object to planning applications, you’ll also benefit by not having to pay out for their travel or accommodation. In Birmingham, our tree consultancy staff that cover the area are Max Bell, Alan Thompson and Matt Edwards. You can read more about them and our what makes our arboricultural consultancy special here.

All this comes together to get you robust tree reports and expert tree advice you need to get planning consent, fast (usually within 1-3 days for tree surveys and reports). 

Plus, if you’re really against the clock, you can invest in a next working day tree survey report or even a weekend survey.

Get a Tree Survey in Birmingham with Comprehensive Advice You Can Trust

If you want your tree survey in Birmingham or other areas of the West Midlands to be managed by a local specialist and contain all the advice you need to get planning applications accepted (or your money back), get in touch with Arbtech today and we will give you an accurate free quote based on the correct information you provide us about your site and project.

One of our fully qualified tree surveyors can then carry out tree surveys and other tree services on the individual trees on your site to find the best way to limit a negative arboricultural impact, bypass each potential risk and get your planning application across the line.

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