Tree Surveys in Cambridge for Planning Consent

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Why Choose Arbtech?

Arbtech are the best asset you can possibly have when you need ecology or tree surveys to help you obtain planning permission.

Arboricultural consultants in Cambridge

Need a tree survey in Cambridge? Our arboricultural consultancy team has got you covered. No matter your development aspirations, the chances are you’re going to have to contend with one (or more) of Cambridge’s 335,000+ trees. Let us help you.

Cambridge is growing, fast. As ever more start-ups and tech companies make the city their home, they bring with them not only jobs, but also investment and opportunity. This is great news for development companies and individual property owners alike. Because both Cambridge City Council and the Cambridgeshire district councils have telegraphed their intention to support both urban and rural development. 

However, Cambridge has trees. Lots of trees. In fact, a survey by the Forestry Commission found the city’s tree canopy cover to be around 19%. Obviously, this is a boon for the environment. Such extensive tree cover is both pleasing to the eye and greatly benefits the urban and suburban ecosystems. Arguably, it adds significant value to the character of the area and thus the value of homes for the residents of the county.

But equally, it does have implications for your development plans.   

BS5837, trees and planning applications in Cambridge

All the trees on, next to, or near your site will need to be assigned a BS5837 category. The categorisation of any individual tree depends on the tree’s size, health, expected longevity, contribution to the ecosystem, and historical significance. This categorisation helps local planning authorities defend their decision to grant you a planning consent on the basis that you have adequately demonstrated a sensible retention/removal balance in your scheme.

The categories span from Cat A (think Newton’s apple tree, or the Great London Plane Tree of Ely in the gardens of the Bishop’s palace) to Cat U, best described with the three Ds: Dead, dying, and dangerous.

Interestingly, Tree Perseveration Orders (TPOs) issued by the various Cambridgeshire local authorities are on an upward trajectory. 265 of the circa 800 TPOs issued since 1955 were issued between 2009 and 2018, with little sign of this trend toward conservation slowing down. So, despite the appetite for urban, suburban and rural development, conservation and environmental protection are still high on the agenda.

These environmental considerations aren’t simply confined to areas of exceptional natural significance or historically important trees, either. Even your run of the mill Ash or Cherry tree (two of the most common types of tree in Cambridge) may well require you to put measures into your scheme to protect and retain them. If you don’t, your planning department’s Case Officer probably won’t grant you planning permission.

And this is where a arboricultural planning support compliant to BS5837 comes in. 

Arboricultural Consultancy in Cambs

A BS5837 survey is, at its core, a balancing exercise. 

We advise you and your design team with the explicit aim of ensuring that you can show how your scheme will protect and retain higher quality trees, whilst justifying the loss of lower quality trees in order to maximise opportunity for development and protect the community’s interest in the retention of tree cover.

Your report will take both the canopy (above ground) and root protection area (below ground) into consideration, and will clearly show your Tree Officer exactly what you’re going to do to meet your obligations, through an exercise called an arboricultural impact assessment. Then they’ll be able to provide a favourable recommendation to your case officer who will, in turn, grant planning permission for your development.

Without it, you won’t even be able to register you application at all:

Where you have identified on your application form that trees will be affected by the proposed development, but you have not submitted a tree survey as part of your application, it will not be made valid until this is received.

Speaking of planning permission, we have secured hundreds of planning consents for our clients in Cambridgeshire alone. 

Our success is your success

In fact, we’re so confident that you’ll secure planning permission with the advice in our tree survey and impact assessment; if your application is refused, we’ll give you your money back.

Here’s how Arbtech help…

We don’t use subcontractors at Arbtech. 

Instead, your tree survey will be carried out by one of our full time, directly employed arboricultural consultants. Between our team of 10 we have well over 100 years of combined local expertise, backed up by the resources that only a business that operates on a national scale can bring.

Our arboriculturists, working out of strategic locations throughout the UK, including Cambs, possess in-depth knowledge of the arboreal particulars of the local area. They’ll be conversant with the Cambridge local plan for example, as well as the policies and procedures that the planning departments of the various other Cambridgeshire local authorities use to make their determinations. 

Moreover, we can genuinely say we’re specialists because we only do work for people who need support with their planning and development aspirations. No subsidence claim work. No highways tree surveys. Just 100% dedication to getting our clients through planning.

All this combines into a seamless service that delivers what you want, as fast as possible (we even have paid-upgrade services for rapid and next working day reports, if you’re really up against it!). 

So, if you need a BS5837 tree survey, impact assessment or protection plan that contains all the advice you need to get planning permission or discharge your conditions (or your money back), and want it done by a local expert—choose Arbtech.


Cambridge City Council. N.D. Tree Data. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2021].

Doick, J., Davies, H., Moss, J., Coventry, R., Handley, P., VasMonterio, M., Rogers, K., Simpkin, P. 2016. [ONLINE] The Canopy Cover of England’s Towns and Cities: Baselining and setting targets to improve human health and well-being. Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2021]

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