Back in 2009, Stoke-on-Trent was praised for emerging as one of the first green cities in Britain after signing up for the 10:10 climate change campaign. Designed with the environment in mind, 10:10 aimed to reduce the carbon footprints of entire areas and the individuals and businesses therein to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% throughout 2010.
In the years that followed, however, it seems as if the city has shown a lack of interest in continuing efforts to improve the standard of the environment. Stoke-on-Trent is an estimated 9,345 hectares in size and surrounded by 43,836 hectares of green belt that acts as a boundary between the city, other parts of Staffordshire, the county of Cheshire, and the town of Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Although a protected green area surrounds the city in the form of the Stoke Green Belt, greenfield land within the city itself is limited, and just 0.5% of households live in rural areas. According to the Arboricultural Association, the UK’s average tree canopy cover stands at 16%. Stoke-on-Trent is slightly short of this figure, with 14.7% tree canopy cover across the city.
Minimal rural areas and natural assets often mean that the local council will hold even tighter restrictions over anything carrying environmental value under their jurisdiction. Anyone developing in Stoke will need to satisfy certain conditions from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, particularly if trees are present on the site. Guidance on meeting the requirements of the local authority and approaching issues involving trees on the site can be done by enlisting an arboriculturist to undertake a tree survey.
Protections for Stoke Trees
From the many policies on local council websites, tree preservation orders (TPOs) and conservation areas are the two most common for protections over trees. In terms of Stoke City Council specifically, you will find all listed conservation areas, simplifying the process of determining whether or not your development site will be affected based on location.
A conservation area and a tree preservation order (TPO) are similar in the sense that both involve trees under the control of the local council, and if any works are carried out that could potentially disturb protected trees, the council must first receive and approve prior notice. The difference, however, is that a conservation area will protect all trees within a named zone, whereas a tree preservation order (TPO) will protect individual trees.
It is possible to address trees on a site correctly, even if they are under an existing TPO or situated within a conservation area. The most effective way of doing this is through booking a tree survey with an arboriculturist. A BS5837 tree survey is a common form of assessment, and it is a baseline survey so it typically acts as the first step in the process. Over the course of a BS5837 tree survey, an arboricultural consultant will visit the site to determine the nature of the trees present before giving each of them a grading to indicate the necessary next steps.
Retention of valuable trees will always reign as the priority outcome. If the trees are causing an obstruction to the site and altering the plans will not suffice, however, the arboricultural surveyor will advise relocating the trees elsewhere inside or outside of the development site, particularly if they are in good condition or are valuable. An absolute last resort will be to destroy the trees and compensate by planting new trees, but this usually only happens if trees are a risk to health and safety, in poor condition, or hold no redeemable value.
Following on from the assessment, the arboriculturist will put together a tree report that features information about the tree survey and relevant insights into each tree on the development site. As it will include the measures needed to meet the requirements of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the tree survey report will possess everything needed to convince the planning officer from the local planning authority that there is no reason why an application for planning permission should be denied.
Experts on Trees and Arboriculture
Within our ranks is a hive of arboricultural consultants with the qualifications, licensing, experience and knowledge to conduct tree surveys on the development sites of professional and private clients to the necessary standard. For more than 15 years, Arbtech has paved the way in producing high-quality survey services for clients, and tree surveys are one of our benchmarks. Coverage across the UK allows our arboricultural surveys to cater to the needs of clients in Stoke-on-Trent, other areas of Staffordshire County, and the rest of the country.
Before committing to us, request a free quote by contacting our team directly over the phone or by filling out our quick quote form. At this point, you can give us extensive details about your site and project, and with those details, we can produce a quote that is accurate to your unique specifications. Once a date has been chosen for the tree survey, our arboricultural team can support you in your planning application.