Chester’s Local Environment and Woodland Areas
Woodland areas are cherished in Chester, with Cheshire West and Chester Council advocating the benefits that trees bring to the environment and the many people of the borough. The local council has been at the forefront of the Mersey Forest initiative since its inception, moving ahead of the time compared to Cheshire East Council, which only joined recently but compensated for a delayed reaction to preserving, protecting and planting trees by setting a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2025.
When it comes to making determinations, planning officers will take tree issues seriously and only encourage successful planning applications where any concerns surrounding trees have been dealt with. That said, even though trees are a sensitive subject, it would be untrue to say that the presence of trees is an insurmountable obstacle. From small projects to big projects, the local authorities are keen to move forward with development, such as the aim of generating investment under the Chester One City Plan.
A study back in 2016 claimed that the tree canopy cover in Chester weighed in at 14% and the entirety of the Cheshire West and Chester area contains an estimated 28,000 trees and more than 500 hectares of woodland. Developers and homeowners are given the freedom to carry out the plans of their project, but only providing all conditions regarding local trees have been acknowledged and addressed. It is possible to do that and remove any complications that would otherwise halt applications for planning permission by organising a tree survey with an arboricultural consultancy such as ours.
Existing Tree Management Measures
Across each section of England, trees are defended by tree preservation orders (TPOs) and conservation areas. Alongside thousands of TPOs, a combined 173 conservation areas appear between the two local authorities in Cheshire – 96 in Cheshire West and Chester and 77 in Cheshire East. A tree preservation order and conservation area are made up of similar restrictions and are both controlled by the local council, except one is based around single trees while the other is based on any number of trees within a set zone.
Regardless of whether the development site falls within a conservation area or not, the potential for present trees to be protected must be considered. The planning case officer and tree officer will scrutinise all planning applications where trees are on the site, and if the evidence isn’t sufficient or doesn’t consist of satisfactory mitigation measures, the planning consents will likely be refused. Simply declining to acknowledge the need for a tree survey and report isn’t an option either, as if trees are harmed in a conservation area, the developer will be subject to a fine of up to £20,000, and if the affected trees are under existing TPOs, the penalties may be even more severe.
Highly Detailed Tree Surveys and Reports
For it to be possible to approach each tree on a development site accordingly, an arboricultural consultant would need to conduct an assessment known as a BS5837 tree survey. In a planned visit to the site, a tree surveyor will inspect all trees in the local vicinity and hand each of them a grade to reflect quality, size and value, as well as the significance they have, both historically and in terms of their place in the ecosystem. Each grade will place the trees into a category and decide the most suitable next step between retention, relocation, and destruction with compensation.
Category A trees are considered critical to local ecology and/or historically significant. More often than not, these trees would be large, old and visually appealing. At the other end of the spectrum, category U trees are considered dangerous, soon to be dead, or already dead. The categories between the two will then range from good to bad, with each option pointing towards a certain outcome. Retention ranks as the priority outcome, but if any trees obstruct the development and plans cannot be changed to accommodate them, the arboricultural surveyor will suggest safely relocating them. Alternatively, trees that are in poor condition, aren’t worth saving or carry health and safety concerns will be destroyed.
Upon completion of a BS5837 tree survey or any other form of arboricultural survey for that matter, a tree report will be put together. It will be presented by the tree consultant who conducted the tree risk assessment first-hand and contains information regarding root growth and protection areas, an AutoCAD map of trees on the site, changes to the development project, development site or present trees that will meet the requirements of the local planning authority, and a recommendation to grant the planning application once all conditions are met. If other British standard tree surveys and reports are needed such as a tree constraints plan (TCP) or tree protection plan (TPP), for instance, it will also express any need for them as a part of the planning process.
Contact Our Team for a Free Quote
Every single one of our tree surveyors possesses expansive knowledge and extensive experience carrying out local tree surveys across Chester and other parts of the West Cheshire area. Whether we are undertaking detailed tree surveys for tree owners, homeowners or developers, we offer a guarantee of hard work and British standard services of the highest possible standard. All locations are covered for a tree survey – Chester or otherwise – and our comprehensive tree reports are designed to cater to every possible consideration and support planning applications.
Our arboricultural consultancy provides past, future and current clients with complete transparency surrounding the tree survey services we offer and the cost you will be required to pay. You can actually review the price payable for local tree surveys on your development site by reaching out to the team at Arbtech and allowing us to send you a free quote based on your unique details. All you need to do is call us, email us, complete an online quote form or visit our contact page. A quotation will be sent to you within a few short hours, and if you are happy with it, book a date for a tree survey and allow our team to assist you with making planning applications to the local planning authority.