City of Birmingham Trees
Birmingham is one of a select few Tree Cities of the World – an international programme backed by the United Nations that 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.
Every tree and development is different, and the combination of the two elements could potentially lead to significant issues and cause a stalemate. A single tree about five or so metres from the edge of your development, for example, might seem inconspicuous, but it could have roots that extend beneath your site and suffer critical damage from groundworks.
It is 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. Applicable to a multitude of circumstances, the potential need for tree surveys holds true whether you are planning a simple extension to your home or a large mixed-use development.
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. If you have a tree problem and want to get a successful planning application, you will need a tree survey and tree constraints plan drawing as a minimum.
Alternatively, if you want further information before reaching out to arrange a tree survey, you could either speak to our team and allow us to provide you with expert advice and support, or you have the option to 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.
Conflict Between Planning and Trees
The City of Birmingham is open for business, and there are plenty of opportunities for developers, businesses, and homeowners alike. 2021 saw 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. And over the next few years, this £700 million regeneration project would go on to deliver offices, hotels and 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 is likely that this will be a boost for Birmingham’s suburban economy, but potentially at the expense of native trees. 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.
Corporations won’t be the only ones to benefit from this development drive. Whilst these gargantuan projects grab the headlines, they are indicative of a rather reasonable attitude towards development in general that homeowners and small businesses can benefit from. That said, no construction will be allowed at the expense of vital ecological features like trees, and planning case officers certainly will not allow for projects that are detrimental to trees without evidence of adherence to relevant policies.
Tree Reports for Development
Before any of our arboricultural consultants set foot on your development site, our team will ask you a selection of questions designed to grow our understanding of what you are planning to do with your project in the Birmingham area. We can then cater to your specific needs, meet certain requirements, and address any potential issues. More often than not, the first step in the process would involve carrying out a BS5837 tree survey across the site and all trees in the vicinity.
At a predetermined time, one of our qualified tree surveyors will visit your site to conduct the tree survey. In a BS5837 tree survey, every tree will be evaluated and handed a grading to reflect value, condition, and suitable next steps between retention, relocation and destruction. A universal mitigation hierarchy will also be utilised in order to find the most suitable outcome for each tree, but at all times, retention will be judged as the priority result wherever possible.
In circumstances where trees are judged to be a health and safety concern, clash with the unchangeable plans of the project or simply aren’t worth keeping, the arboricultural consultants will suggest moving them elsewhere or destroying them. A report will then be created to detail the correct information retrieved from the site, the next steps for all trees, and other assessments needed if the BS5837 didn’t suffice. As soon as all potential risk factors and concerns have been dealt with, the tree survey report will insist that the developer should be given clearance to gain planning consent from the local councils.
Speak to Our Arboricultural Experts
Through the arboricultural consultancy at Arbtech, you have the guarantee of being given a tree surveyor who possesses the same level of knowledge as a local expert, giving them the necessary insight into the Birmingham area, the requirements of the local council in the West Midlands, the role of conversation areas, tree preservation orders (TPOs) and a tree protection plan, the expectations from tree surveys and reports, and the legal obligation to individual trees that exist during any design, demolition and construction works.
The best way to arrange for one of our fully qualified tree surveyors to attend your site to assess tree problems, undertake British standard tree surveys and produce tree reports to guide you towards successful planning applications would be to speak to our team directly. Just call us over the phone, fill out a quote form online or visit our website, and we will be able to use the correct information about your site to determine the right tree surveys and reports for you. You will then be given a free quote to look over, and if you are happy with it, let us know, and we can send out one of our arboricultural consultants to assist you.