Overlap Between the Environment and Planning
A county well-known for red Leicester and stilton cheeses, Leicestershire is located in the East Midlands, bordering Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Derbyshire. With an eye on the environment, Leicestershire County Council put in place the Tree Management Strategy 2020-2025, involving multiple practices, such as ensuring the safety of the public, resolving conflict between trees and development, benefiting wildlife and ecology, and accelerating the longevity of trees.
With this plan, the local council pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030. Trees provide a vital contribution to the quality of our lives, enhancing our gardens, towns, villages, parks and streets, and providing enormous environmental benefits that surface on the ability to release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide to help fight climate change. Around 4% of Leicestershire is now home to woodland, with Charnwood Forest – a listed site of special scientific interest (SSSI) – covering around 16,000 hectares.
Charnwood Forest is a part of England’s unexpected uplands, which was formed during a volcanic eruption 600 million years ago and consists of wooded valleys, granite-topped hills, grasslands and heathlands. A large portion of the northwest of the county near Coalville shapes part of the new National Forest, which extends into Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The National Forest is 200 square miles of varied and lively landscape, and the forest consists of ancient and newly planted trees. The woodland cover in Leicestershire has surged from 6% in 1991 to 19.5% in 2013, and by 2016, more than eight million new trees had been planted.
Out of all tree species in circulation throughout the UK, the most common in Leicestershire are ash, poplar, English oak, Corsican pine and Scots pine. The ash tree and the English oak are two of the UK’s most common trees, particularly in the deciduous woodlands of Southern and Central Britain. Both tree species grow to around 20 to 40 metres tall, but ash trees are facing the continued threat of depleted population numbers from ash dieback. If any such trees are present on a development site – or any that could be protected by the local authorities – it would be the responsibility of the developer to arrange a tree survey to ensure that their planning project isn’t contradicting any policies or laws.
Boundaries Surrounding Certain Trees
What makes an intent to adhere to relevant environmental considerations more difficult is that it isn’t just limited to areas of natural interest. For instance, even the oak tree situated at the bottom of your garden may be protected and applicable for measures to ensure guaranteed retention and conservation. In fact, the local authorities are given so much freedom in protecting trees that they can choose to defend them in one of two methods through a tree preservation order (TPO) or conservation area.
With help from the planning department and any relevant regulators, local councils up and down the country provide safeguarding to trees via enforceable policies. Tree preservation orders and conservation areas are similar, but with the former applying to single trees and the latter applying to groups of trees in a highlighted zone. Although the fines for disrupting a tree under an existing TPO are often much more severe than trees in a conservation area, both carry penalties and require consent from the corresponding local authority beforehand.
Leicestershire Tree Surveys and Reports
In terms of the different types of tree surveys, the usual option for planning would be to book a BS5837 tree survey. During a visit from an arboricultural consultant, all trees across the development site will be branded with a grade based on quality, condition and value, and from there, it will be easy to distinguish what the suitable next step will be. From most preferable to least preferable, the tree surveyor will opt to retain, relocate, or destroy trees with compensation to make up for any losses to biodiversity.
Depending on the design, demolition and construction recommendations of a developer’s design team, it may be possible to alter the plans of the project to facilitate trees that are worth keeping. If, however, this simply cannot be done, it will be necessary to move worthwhile trees elsewhere and dispose of any trees that aren’t worth saving. A list of all retained trees and plans for tree removal or disposal will feature within an AutoCAD drawing that can be used in conjunction with the proposed development plans.
As well as next steps for each tree on the site and the AutoCAD drawing, tree reports will also contain any other suggestions that should remove any remaining obstacles standing between a developer and planning consent. That said, if other tree services or more detailed reports are needed before planning applications can realistically be granted, the tree survey report can also contain recommendations for an arboricultural method statement (AMS), arboricultural impact assessment (AIA), tree protection plan (TPP) or tree constraints plan (TCP).
Input from Our Arboricultural Consultancy
Rather than using subcontractors to blindly lead our tree services, we pride ourselves on hiring genuine experts in a broad selection of locations, enabling clients to receive effective solutions from a professional tree consultant, often with prior experience in similar areas such as tree surgery for additional insight and knowledge of the area and the local planning authority. Our reviews speak for themselves, presenting Arbtech as the UK’s number one tree survey provider with a solid reputation for conducting an excellent job on any and all assessments.
Homeowners conducting a property extension, developers staging small or large projects and tree owners in need of advice can all benefit from our tree survey services for the planned work carried out. We are fully-functional in Leicestershire and other parts of the East Midlands, and you can request a free quote by getting in touch and passing on details of your site and project. Do this by calling, emailing, finishing a quote form or visiting our contact page, and providing you are happy to move forward, we can carry out a tree survey and support your application for planning permission.