Within the predominantly rural town of Northampton, there are 170 parks and open spaces that take up 760 hectares of land. More than half of the population lives in rural areas, and despite an emphasis on countryside areas, just 5% of Northampton’s 8,007 hectares of land is considered wooded, indicating a distinct lack of trees in the town.
In terms of the wider county of Northamptonshire, from the available 236,400 hectares, only 23,400 hectares is wooded, meaning a tree canopy cover of 10%. Pledges from the local council and mindful residents, however, aim to increase the number of trees and wooded areas in both Northampton and the broader Northamptonshire county. An example of this is Save Our Street Trees – a community initiative that has planted hundreds of trees in urban areas of Northampton since 2019.
Between Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council and various community groups, existing trees in Northampton are protected and new trees are set to be planted over the coming months. Although this is positive news for anyone living in Northampton who has an interest in the ecological value of the town, it has the opposite effect on developers, who will see trees and the protections around them as an obstacle.
Developers can receive the necessary insights to continue their development even with trees on their development site by hiring an arboriculturist for a tree survey. Then, with their help, they can eliminate any issues caused by trees and remove any hindrances that would otherwise affect their planning application.
Policies for Tree Protection
Common forms of protections over trees, local councils will often manage trees using tree preservation orders (TPOs) and conservation areas. Single trees are placed under a tree preservation order (TPO) and several trees will be listed within a conservation area, therefore protecting all trees within the outlined zone.
Both forms of tree protections share similarities, such as how they are under the jurisdiction of the local council and require prior consent before any works potentially affecting the trees are carried out. As with all areas of England and Wales, TPOs and listed conservation areas are utilised by Northampton Borough Council and the broader Northamptonshire County Council.
Inspection on Trees
The first step in the arboricultural assessment process is a BS5837 tree survey. During this form of analysis, an arboriculturist will inspect all trees on the development and brandish each with a grading based on condition and value. The chosen grading will then determine the appropriate next step for each tree present, and a mitigation hierarchy will work out suitable solutions.
Retention of valuable trees stands as the priority outcome, but if trees are in poor condition, hold little value, pose risks to health and safety or cause an unavoidable obstruction to the development plans, other options are available. For instance, the arboricultural consultant will first consider moving valuable trees elsewhere inside or outside of the site. If trees simply aren’t worth saving, however, they will recommend destroying them and compensating with the planting of new trees.
Straight after the assessment, a tree survey report will be created to detail outcomes from it, including information about the assessment itself, the next steps for each tree and other suggestions that will allow the project to move forward. It will also include recommendations for any other arboricultural assessments needed on the site, and once it has been passed on to the developer, the tree report can be given to the planning officer from the local planning authority to support the application for planning consent.
Qualified Tree Experts
Our arboricultural surveyors are qualified and licensed to undertake tree surveys for private and professional clients all over the country, including Northampton, broader Northamptonshire and practically any other location in the UK. Arbtech also ensures that the arboriculturists in our ranks possess personal attributes that make them more effective in their job, such as an utmost determination to produce a high-quality service and retrieve pivotal results.
If you want to get the ball rolling, you can speak to our team by calling us and speaking to one of our team directly or by filling out a quote form online. Providing you give us accurate details about your site and project, we can send you a free quote based on your unique specifications. When you give us the green light, we will arrange an appropriate time to visit your site, conduct a tree survey and help you to get a planning condition for your project.