Arboriculture in Conjunction with Planning
Trees are scattered all over the City of Cambridge, with a survey from the Forestry Commission claiming a tree canopy cover of around 19%. Such extensive tree cover is a boon for the environment and offers a pleasing sight for the eyes alongside endless benefits for urban and suburban ecosystems. The presence of trees also adds significant value to the character of the area, and as a side effect, increases the value of homes for residents inhabiting or looking to inhabit the county.
In recent times, more start-ups and technology companies have opted to make Cambridge their home, bringing in jobs, investment and opportunity like never before. Development companies and property owners naturally jumped on this, as it gave them the leeway to execute proposed planning projects and the encouragement from Cambridge City Council and the Cambridgeshire district councils in supporting both urban and rural development.
No matter your development aspirations, however, the chances are you are going to have to contend with one or more of the 335,000+ trees situated in Cambridge. Environmental considerations aren’t simply confined to areas of exceptional natural significance or historic importance, with even run-of-the-mill ash or cherry trees requiring measures in the development scheme to guarantee protection. Without acknowledgement of trees and evidence of adequate mitigation in the form of a tree survey, it is highly unlikely that planning permission will be granted.
Protection for Individual Trees and Groups of Trees
Protected trees appearing on development sites are frequent obstacles for developers, with a large number in rural areas due to the high quantities of tree stock and a relatively large number in urban areas due to the importance of protecting the much less abundant tree populations. Common types of protections that aim to preserve the well-being of trees that are perceived as high-value consist of the utilisation of conservation areas and tree preservation orders (TPO).
Although similar in the sense that they are controlled by the local council and require prior consent before any associated trees are compromised, a conservation area affects all trees within a set location and a tree preservation order affects single trees. The quantity of TPOs issued by the various Cambridgeshire local authorities is on an upward trajectory, with 265 of the 800 TPOs since 1955 initiated between 2009 and 2018.
Tree Surveys and Inspections
All the trees on the proposed development site and in close proximity to it will need to be subjected to a BS5837 tree survey. Using a selection of parameters such as size, health, historical significance, expected longevity and contribution to the ecosystem, they will be graded, and the categorisation of the grading will determine what the next step will be. From the ability to improve human health through the production of oxygen to the likelihood of causing potential hazards, all positives and negatives will be taken into consideration before gauging whether tree work is required.
A tree consultant will always aim to retain as many trees as possible, but if they are an obstruction to the project that cannot be mitigated, they will need to have them relocated elsewhere. In undesirable circumstances, the only reasonable solution will be to destroy trees and compensate with the planting of new trees. The tree data will then be detailed in a tree report alongside an array of other information, such as the above-ground canopy, the below-ground root protection area, and the process of setting targets to meet the specific requirements of the local planning authorities.
More specifically, a tree survey report will use a myriad of evidence to demonstrate that a BS5837 assessment has been conducted correctly and that adequate steps forward have been found. The tree surveyor will also use tree reports as an opportunity to outline if any additional tree services are needed before planning consent can be granted, such as a tree constraints plan (TCP), tree protection plan (TPP), arboricultural impact assessments (AIA) or arboricultural method statements (AMS).
Contact Our Friendly Team
At Arbtech, our arboriculturists work out of strategic locations throughout the UK to cover all of England’s towns, cities and villages, including Cambridge, the county of Cambridgeshire and further reaches of East Anglia. The arboricultural consultant you will be given will have an in-depth knowledge of the local area, the expectations of the local council, and the overlap between trees and planning, as well as an advanced understanding of carrying out tree surveys and producing tree reports.
For a guaranteed excellent service on your BS5837 tree survey and other assessments, choose Arbtech and allow our arboricultural consultants to provide you with what you need to secure successful planning applications. Get in touch for a free quote by calling us, emailing us, completing an online quote form or checking out our contact page. As soon as you receive your quote from our arboricultural consultancy, look over it, let us know if you want to move forward, and if you do, we can arrange for a tree survey on your site, assemble the corresponding tree report, and help you to get through planning.