West Sussex’s Green Development Plans
Among the urban and rural landscape, trees appear as central features in West Sussex, making sense of how it is classed as the second most wooded county in England. An estimated 19% of the land area is woodland, and with environmental concerns high on the agenda, trees are considered a vital part of West Sussex’s green future. Due to the intent from the local authorities to retain and enhance trees and woodland, no matter where you are operating in the county, if there are trees on or near your development site, it is highly likely that a tree survey will be a vital part of your planning application.
An overt commitment to trees and the environment won’t unduly inhibit construction in the county. For instance, the local council approved the creation of 13,500 square metres of floor space for business in a landfill site in Worthing that was previously dormant since 1979 and the go-ahead was given to a housebuilder in Selsey who bought a site with the intention of building 193 new homes. While large schemes such as these may not be particularly relevant to individual homeowners, the fact that they are being approved at a healthy rate speaks to a positive attitude, even towards substantial schemes.
Against a backdrop of shrinking budgets, the county council have initiated a new tree plan to demonstrate an intention towards investing in local trees and woodland while supporting pressing development needs. Various local authorities are keen to protect and preserve existing trees and drive planting schemes like the Donate a Tree Scheme that further enhances the natural environment. Even coastal cities that struggle with tree planting due to the harsh winds and alkaline topsoil like Brighton enjoy over 12,000 street trees and 500 hectares of woodland. Likewise, more than 30,000 trees consisting of a wide range of species appear all over the county line in Portsmouth.
Although your local authority is likely to be accommodating for your new development, it would be fair to say that some planning applications may be more difficult than others. Both tree and planning officers make planning decisions based on evidence and policy, and once an outcome has been decided, they will need to stand by it with adequate justification. Whenever high-quality trees are involved, securing planning consent can be tricky, and the only way of bypassing these obstacles is by ensuring that a robust tree report has been assembled by a qualified tree surveyor following a tree survey of the site.
Guidelines Protecting Tree Species
Of all the parameters in place to safeguard native trees, the two most common are known as conservation areas and tree preservation orders (TPOs), both of which are controlled by the local council and require clear consent from them before any trees under these protections are disrupted in any way, shape or form. Developers need to be aware of any applicable trees, as even inadvertently harming any could result in potentially serious penalties and cause costly delays to the project.
The difference between the two protective measures for trees is that a tree preservation order is applied to individual trees while a conservation area is applicable to any number of trees within a chosen zone. Local councils up and down the country utilise these tree policies including TPOs and conservation areas managed by West Sussex County Council, and they frequently appear as obstacles in planning.
Tree Inspections for Development
Although there are a few different types of tree surveys, a BS5837 tree survey is a version that is often used to address health and safety concerns, gauge potential risks, and find suitable solutions for trees on development sites. All trees present will be evaluated in a way that covers construction, renovation, demolition and design work, and in the process of protecting trees and the environment, a BS5837 tree survey will also guarantee that the developer is shielded from any problems that would arise from harming trees in the eyes of the local planning officer.
Following a close-up and aerial inspection of the affected trees, each of them will be placed under a grading that reflects condition and value. If they are in poor condition, damaged, likely to raise health and safety concerns or suffering from the side effects of ash dieback, for example, tree works to relocate or destroy the trees may be the best outcome. It will always be preferable to retain as many trees as possible, but in certain circumstances, it may simply be impossible to alter the development plans to cater to trees that are worth keeping. That said, even if trees are destroyed as a last resort, new trees will be planted on-site or off-site as compensation.
After British standard tree surveys, a tree report will explain all findings and recommend that applications for planning consent be granted. It will also explain if any remaining factors are preventing a successful planning application, and if there are, what needs to be remedied to get the project to where it needs to be. For instance, if any further tree surveys are needed, the arboricultural report will make this clear, such as the need for a tree protection plan (TPP), tree constraints plan (TCP), arboricultural impact assessment (AIA) or arboricultural method statement (AMS).
Refer to Our Excellent Service
We are just as equally knowledgeable and experienced in the arboricultural industry as we are in the ecological industry, enabling us to help with development sites under tree cover and any other potential issues that could arise. All of the tree consultants at Arbtech are qualified, licensed and trained to manage a British standard tree survey and pass on all the information that your design team need to conduct a development project without it being at the expense of protected trees.
You will find that the tree survey cost varies from quote to quote, allowing us to only charge clients what they are required to pay based on the specifications of their site and project. With that in mind, we would advise that all clients get in touch with our team over the phone, via email or by filling out an online quote form. We will then send a free quote, and if you are happy with it, let us know that you wish to move forward and we will plan a date to undertake the tree survey, send you the accompanying tree reports, and help you to get planning permission granted by your local planning authority.