Tree Reports & Surveys

From basic health condition tree surveys to in-depth Planning and Development BS5837 reports.

We offer a professional Tree Surveying & Tree Report service to both domestic and commercial customers, including Parish & District Councils, Schools, Land Management companies and private land owners. Our tree surveyors hold a Level 4 Certificate in Arboriculture and the Lantra Professional Tree Inspection qualification, as well as having a wealth of knowledge and experience to back this up with.

A Tree Survey or Report may be required for a number of reasons. We have listed below the types of Tree Surveys & Tree Reports that we offer along with a brief explanation.

Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and Conservation Area Planning Application

Trees can be protected by law in the form of a TPO or they could be protected ‘if they fall within a Conservation Area. In both cases in order to obtain permission for any work to protected trees, an application must be submitted to the local planning authority.

Any works to trees within a Conservation Area requires written notification. If there are no objections to the proposed works within 6 weeks of notification then you are OK to proceed with the works. There are some exemptions which include anything with a diameter less than 75mm or anything less than 100mm to help improve the growth of another tree.

Any tree work to a tree with a TPO requires full written permission. This takes approx. 8 weeks to obtain permission and any works must be justified and not be detrimental to the tree, however there are some works that fall under an exemption such as the removal of dead wood.

At S.P. Landscapes we complete all tree applications free of charge, as part of our quotation for tree work, for both TPO trees or trees in a Conservation Area.

However, if you submit an application yourself, they must ask that you provide a Tree Survey/ Report from a qualified Arborist to justify the works being applied for, which we are able to provide.

Tree Condition and Hazard Assessments Survey

Trees situated close to a property or on publicly accessible land present a potential risk to public and personal safety. Tree owners, without exception, have a legal duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure the safe condition of their trees for people on their land, invited or trespassing, and a duty of care is owed to third party properties and people. Trees will need to be assessed regularly with some trees assessed more frequently than others depending on their location. The recommendation and advice given can help to manage their surroundings and will provide a list of recommended works, if required, with a priority or risk rating.

Planning and Development BS5837 Survey

In order to carry out a development project, whether it is for a small extension or a large site, you may be asked by your local authority to have a BS5837 survey carried out. This a survey that plots all the trees accurately onto the site map, determining more importantly where the root protection areas are, which is known as a constraints plan. The designers will use this information to help design and facilitate the proposed development with these constraints taken into account. This survey is usually carried out before or during the design stage.

Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA)

Your local authority may ask for some additional information to go with your initial BS5837 survey, in the form of an Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA). This information is used to see how much of an impact your proposed development will have on the trees. This assessment will broadly cover the trees that require removal, to incorporate development, and the management of the remaining trees near development, with below and above ground constraints including shading.

Arboricultural Method Statement and Tree Protection Plan

A Method Statement Report may be required to accompany planning proposals. This report details what tree protection measures are needed for all stages of your development, describing the methodology behind the protection of a development site’s trees during construction. A Tree Protection Plan (TPP) will accompany this and build upon the plan outlined in the AIA. On occasion arboricultural supervision may be required when construction works are within the Root Protection Area (RPA).

Arboricultural Site Supervision

As part of Planning Permission, the Local Planning Authority may stipulate that Arboricultural supervision is required to mark up and check the Root Protection Area barrier fencing to ensure it is in the correct location and fit for purpose. In addition, Arboricultural supervision may be required for any works within, or close to, the Root Protection Area. We are able to provide this Arboricultural Site Supervision, even if the BS5837 Survey was carried out by another.

Tree Reports & Surveys FAQs

This is dependent on the tree species but in most cases the best time of year to undertake tree work is from late-Autumn through to Winter, when the tree is dormant, and it is best to avoid Spring time and early-Autumn. The reason is that in Spring time the tree is actively growing and any tree pruning can be detrimental to the growth of the tree. Likewise, in early-Autumn the tree is pulling all the nutrients that it needs from the leaves and any tree work can put additional stress on the tree due to loss of nutrients.

There are a few exceptions to this general rule such as Walnut trees that should be pruned mid-Summer to early-Autumn as the tree is prone to bleeding sap through the open wounds. The other exception is if the tree, or a branch, is hazardous such as dead or diseased, as the safety of the surrounding public or buildings would take priority and, in most cases, any minor tree work or the removal of one branch, is not likely to have a detrimental affect on the whole tree.

If a tree or hedges is being removed, the time of year is mostly unaffected but one consideration would be bird nesting season. All species of nesting bird are protected all year round; however, they commonly nest between March to July. If there are no actively nesting birds within a tree then we can continue with the tree removal, however if there was a nesting bird within a tree, we would need to postpone the works until the birds had fledged the nest. In most broad-leaved species, with sparse canopies, it is easy to undertake a pre-work inspection for any nesting birds. However, with some evergreen species with dense canopies, such as Conifers, it is very difficult so we would look to schedule these works outside of bird nesting season, if possible.

In regards to hedges, it is dependent on how many times a year you plan to have the hedge cut and where the hedge is located. If cutting the hedge once per year then we would recommend cutting it between September to November. This falls outside of bird nesting season and is before the winter frosts. However, if you plan to cut you hedges twice per year then an earlier cut in June or July is recommended. In some circumstances, where hedges are close to paths or roads, they may require an earlier cut in June/ July to ensure that they are not impeding onto the paths or road.

Following a site visit to assess the extent of your works, and to provide you with a quote, our estimator will be able to advise and make recommendations on the best time of year to undertake your works.

This is dependent on the location of the tree and the type and volume of the site usage.

If a site has high usage and is occupied by children, such as a school or village playing field, then we would recommend that a tree survey is undertaken every 1 to 2 years. If a site has high usage and is predominately used by adults, such as a commercial premises or business park, we would recommend a tree survey every 2 to 3 years. Should a site have low usage, such as a farm or estate park land, then a survey every 3 to 5 years would be adequate.

As part of our Tree Condition and Hazard Assessment survey, we not only assess the condition of the tree but also provide a risk rating subject to the trees condition and location. If the tree contained dead wood at a school, it would have a higher risk rating compared to the same tree if located on a farm headland.

We recommend that trees should be inspected on a regular basis by a qualified arborist throughout different seasons of the year, so often recommend re-surveys at half year intervals such as 1 ½ or 3 ½ years.

Whilst there is no legal requirement to have a tree survey carried out, if you own or manage land, you have a legal duty to ensure that any trees located on this land are in a safe condition. Should an unsafe tree fail and cause injury to a person, or damage to property, you may be liable if the tree failure was considered reasonably foreseeable.

On small areas of land with trees, such as a domestic garden, a regular visual assessment by an unqualified land owner would be considered adequate, however the land owner should seek professional advice if there is any concern, such as dead wood, discolouration of the leaves or any fungal or bracket growth on the truck or at the base of the tree. We offer free advice and consultations should you have any concerns about your tree and offer free no obligation quotations for any recommended works.

On larger areas, such as parish or district councils, farms or estate land, schools etc. it is advisable to commission a tree survey with a written tree report. This is a chargeable service but records the tree species, size, condition and any recommended work. The work is prioritized into categories so you know how urgently the works need completed as well as have the trees plot onto a plan.

Trees are dynamic living organisms that are subject to constant external stresses and to biological and non-biological influences so the report observations are to be considered as correct at the time of inspection only. However, having regular tree surveys, and completing the recommended works, provides evidence of your duty of care to ensure the trees are in as safe a condition as can be reasonably expected.

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