South Yorkshire Countryside and Planning
Featuring a selection of large distribution centres, international manufacturers and countless small to medium-sized businesses, it comes as no surprise to learn that the town of Barnsley in South Yorkshire recently recorded the highest rate of private sector job growth in the UK. To match the rise in business opportunities, the local council opted to increase the emphasis on development, but not without consideration for the environment.
Between the 19% tree canopy cover, the estimated 3,637 hectares of woodland and the fact that around half of the woodland is considered ancient, Barnsley is remarkably green. Despite that, the local authority declared a climate emergency in 2019 and went on to make a commitment to reaching net zero carbon by 2040 and planting 10,000 new trees by 2025. While the many street trees, garden trees and countryside trees are already an obstacle to planning projects, the introduction of vastly larger tree stock only heightens the issue in the eyes of developers looking to come away with a successful planning application.
Throughout the commitment to biodiversity and geodiversity, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council placed particular emphasis on well-loved features, such as the river corridors of the Don, Dearne and Dove. In the adopted local plan, multiple policies relate to trees, including GD1, BI01 and the supplementary planning document on trees and hedgerows. An intent from the local authorities to develop the area remains strong, but if it comes at the expense of nearby trees, ancient woodland or veteran trees, no development work will be permitted without a tree survey and the evidence of mitigation and compensatory measures that come with it in the accompanying tree report.
Catering for Protected Trees
Unfortunately, the presence of veteran trees and ancient woodland isn’t the only tree-related barrier to obtaining planning permission. In fact, it is worth bearing in mind that even a standard street tree has the potential to pose a problem in your ability to continue your development plans and secure planning consent. Any tree could be perceived as a thriving home to animals, insects, fungi and other plants, and its existence alone could contribute to the well-being of countless other natural elements.
Certain trees are protected by tree preservation orders (TPOs) and conservation areas, with the former applying to individual trees and the latter applying to groups of trees in designated zones. It can be difficult to identify a protected tree, and as such, developers are required to tread carefully to ensure that any conservation area and tree preservation order is addressed accordingly and that the corresponding local authorities are contacted for prior consent, eliminating the likelihood of harsh penalties.
Tree Services in a Development Project
In planning, the most suitable form of risk assessment for reviewing trees across a development site is known as a BS5837 tree survey. Every tree will be given a category ranging from A to U, classifying outcomes based on a selection of factors including condition, age and the significance they have, both historically and on the local ecosystem. Other factors will also be considered, particularly any adverse effects that could arise from removing the trees, such as subsidence risk.
Using the chosen categories to guide the way, the arboricultural consultant will choose what happens to each tree. The priority would be to retain as many trees as possible, but if trees of an acceptable level are obstructing the development plans in a way that cannot be corrected, the affected trees will need to be moved elsewhere inside or outside of the site. If, however, trees are not at an acceptable standard and could even impact health and safety, the British standard assessment will call for them to be destroyed and compensated for with the planting of a new tree from the same species.
After an arboricultural survey, a tree survey report will be assembled by the arboriculturist to explain how the assessment was completed, detail mitigation and compensation measures, and provide applicable arboricultural advice. The tree surveyor will also include an AutoCAD image of all trees on or in close proximity to the site that can be overlaid across the development plans as a guideline to the design team regarding how trees could potentially conflict with the planning project. Through containing an array of crucial supporting information, the tree report should act as sufficient evidence in the eyes of the local planning authority and give them everything needed to approve the planning application.
Book a Tree Inspection Today
As a national provider of tree survey services for many years, Arbtech has grown into the UK’s number-one consultancy for arboricultural and ecological assessments. Each tree surveyor in our team has the knowledge and experience to conduct tree surveys for your development project, whether it is in Barnsley, other parts of South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, or even sensitive areas that are in close proximity such as the Yorkshire Dales.
Not only do we cover anywhere for a tree survey – Barnsley or otherwise – but we also offer our services to any and all clients. You could be a tree owner or developer, or work in another area (estate managers or mortgage providers, for example), and simply by getting in touch, we can speak to you about your needs and requirements. Contact our team by calling, emailing or visiting our contact page directly, and you will be sent a free quote based on your details to look over. Assuming you are satisfied, we can then plan a date to send one of our arboricultural consultants to your site, complete a BS5837 tree survey, and help you with your planning application.