How Leeds’ tree policies could affect your development
Need a tree survey in Leeds, Bradford and West Yorkshire?
Leeds is getting greener by the year. As part of a drive to becoming carbon neutral, Leeds City Council is planning to plant 5.8 million new trees. As a result, swathes of land are being earmarked for woodland creation, supplementing the existing 1,800 hectares of woodland already managed by the local authority. From this, it’s clear that preserving, protecting, and planting trees will form a core part of the planning decision making process. Therefore, whether you’re contending with one tree or many, a tree survey inspection and robust report will be essential.
It’s often a concern that environmental and tree policies come at the expense of the ambitions of homeowners and developers alike. This isn’t necessarily the case. Leeds is growing, and the Local Plan makes it clear that opportunities for regeneration and sustainable development are essential to support the jobs and homes the population needs to thrive. Indeed, some incredibly ambitious projects are underway. For example, the Leeds City Village project will include circa 1,000 homes and, notably, a large ‘village green’. Built over a railway station that’s been out of use for decades, this is a fine example of regeneration that gives back to the local ecology, as well as the economy.
There are many factors at play that will determine how the local authority will view your application and tree management plan. For example, the location of your development within the city. In terms of tree canopy cover, areas like Roundhay enjoy cover somewhere in the region of 30%. By contrast, Gipton and Harehills have a canopy cover of only 9%.
Obviously, more trees mean the chances of you encountering one (or more) on or near your site increases. But the planning Case Officer must also consider the wider impact of your development in terms of canopy cover, aesthetics, and ecology, amongst other things. Consequently, the mitigation or compensatory planting measures they’ll require should you need to remove or otherwise damage any trees will likely vary significantly.
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If even one tree will be impacted by your development a BS5837 tree survey is effectively mandatory, even if it isn’t directly on your site.
For example, a tree that’s near your site boundary could have roots that extend under your proposed development footprint. If it does, they could be damaged by construction works or the development itself. Equally, it might not, but you wouldn’t know this for certain without a tree survey and arboricultural impact assessment.
The planning Case Officer will use the content of your report to justify their decision to grant planning consent. A BS5837 tree survey is straightforward, but it isn’t a box-checking exercise. If it’s lacking information or sufficient detail, your application will be refused. At the very least, this will disrupt your development schedule. Go ahead anyway, and you risk criminal prosecution. Penalties are severe and include an unlimited fine if the tree or trees are protected by one of the 2,100 Tree Preservation Orders or are in one of the 79 conservation areas in Leeds.
Tree Surveyors in Leeds
You want planning consent, and your tree survey and report will contain everything you need to achieve it.
A specialist tree surveyor will come to your site and identify and categorise every tree on or near it. These categories range from Cat A (historic and/or ecologically significant trees like Nellie’s tree in Parlington) to Cat U (dying, dead, and dangerous trees that need removing anyway). They’ll also undertake an arboricultural impact assessment that examines the canopy (above ground) and root protection area (below ground).
Then, they’ll produce a report for you and your design team. It’ll contain advice that will enable you to explain how your scheme will protect and retain higher quality trees whilst justifying the loss of lower quality trees. All to help you get the most out of your site and development.
This report will be used by the local Tree Officer who will be looking to see how you’re going to meet your obligations. If you choose Arbtech, your report will show them; as a result, the Tree Officer will be able to provide a favourable recommendation to your Case Officer, and you will be granted planning permission.
We know this will be the case because, in 16 years, we’ve achieved a 100% success rate at planning. As of 2021, we’re working on around 3,000 projects per year, and are yet to have a planning application refused on the basis of our advice.
In fact, we’ve helped hundreds of clients in Leeds solve their tree problems and get planning permission.
Here’s how we helped…
Your survey will be managed by an expert arboricultural surveyor who specialises in getting clients through planning.
We can guarantee this because every one of our 30+ surveyors is employed directly by us, and all we do is provide surveys and advice for planning applications. This means your project won’t get handed to a subcontractor who also gets involved in subsidence work, TPO appeals, homebuyer surveys, and so on.
They’ll also be local to you. Arbtech’s consultants have years of experience working in and around Leeds. So, you can be sure that they’ll arrive at your site with the comprehensive arboricultural and policy knowledge they need to get you planning permission, first time.
In 16 years, our team has yet to encounter a tree issue they couldn’t overcome; with decades of combined experience, a strong collaborative culture, and access to unlimited CPD funding that’s unlikely to change any time soon.
Combined, this means you’ll get the survey and report you need, fast.
Two to three days is the usual timeframe. Or, if you’re up against it and need the report the next working day, you can invest in paid upgrade service and receive exactly that.
Need a tree survey in Leeds? Trust Arbtech
If you want the advice you need to get planning permission (or your money back) and want it done by a local expert—choose Arbtech.
Beecham, R., Hyde, N. 2019. Detailed plans for 1,000 flat complex called Leeds City Village unveiled. [Online]. Available from: https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/news/leeds-news/detailed-plans-1000-flat-complex-16644275 [Accessed 25 January 2021]
Leeds City Council. 2019. Adopted Core Strategy with CSSR Policies Sept 2019. [Online]. Available from: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/adopted-local-plan/core-strategy-introduction [Accessed 25 January 2021]
Leeds City Council. 2019. Log on and twig protected tree locations in Leeds as council branches out with new online mapping service. [Online]. Available from: https://news.leeds.gov.uk/ [Accessed 25 January 2021]
Leeds City Council. N.D. Trees and woodlands. [Online]. Available from: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/parks-and-countryside/trees-and-woodland [Accessed 25 January 2021]
Mooney, H. 2020. Tree canopy cover across Leeds – what do we have, and what do we need? [Online]. Available from: https://leaf.leeds.ac.uk/news/tree-canopy-cover-across-leeds-what-do-we-have-and-what-do-we-need/[Accessed 25 January 2021]
Neill, P. 2020. 5.8 million trees to be planted in Leeds in the next 25 years. [Online]. Available from: https://environmentjournal.online/articles/5-8-million-trees-to-planted-in-leeds/ [Accessed 25 January 2021]Yorkshire Evening Post. 2018. Historic east Leeds tree is shortlisted for ‘tree of the year’ award. [Online]. Available from: https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/historic-east-leeds-tree-shortlisted-tree-year-award-579077 [Accessed 25 January 2021]