Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction - the BS "5837" Report


So, you've been asked by planners to submit a report on the trees on your site; what do they actually want?

We've prepared this brief guide to help you to understand the process.

Purpose of the report:

To identify all trees on OR CLOSE TO site (usually within a maximum of 15 metres), and ensure that the good trees with potential to provide benefit to the landscape, amenity or wildlife are retained and protected to grace the site for years to come; it doesn't mean that ALL trees on site will have to stay, but planners will expect you to take into account the better ones. 

The process:


All trees will be surveyed and placed in one of four B.S. categories, A,B,C or U, and their details will be recorded on a schedule (including stem diameter, height, species, clearance above ground level, expected safe remaining useful life expectancy and BS category). 

They will also be plotted onto a TREE CONSTRAINTS PLAN or "TCP" (which we can generate from a topographic survey supplied to us either as a scale hard copy, or in digital format as a .dxf file). This will show the approximate crown  spreads of surveyed trees coloured according to BS category, Root Protection Areas (RPA's) and other information including hedgelines, shrub areas and constraints to root development (paths, walls etc).

Information from the TCP can then be used by your design team (with guidance from us where necessary) to decide how to work with the trees on site, including retention and protection of the good ones; this might require special construction techniques if construction within the tree RPA is unavoidable.

Having produced a workable design we can write an Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) in which the various constraints are detailed together with the steps which will be taken to accommodate them.

Once consent is granted planners are likely to require a Tree Protection Plan and Arboricultural Method Statement to indicate which trees will be retained, how they will be protected, what new planting is proposed together with any ground protection or special construction techniques to be employed; the method statement provides specific guidance for the construction teams on the ground.

How to help us help you

Before we can offer an accurate fee proposal we need to know roughly how many trees we will need to survey; plans showing existing layouts and your proposals are also necessary for us to provide an arboricultural impact  assessment; if you have already commissioned a topographic survey then it is likely to show the locations of trees on site, although there may be others, on adjacent neighbouring land, that we will need to take into account.

So, heres a check list of items that will help us when making your initial enquiry:

  • Location and postcode
  • Block plan showing existing property and surroundings (preferably including locations of relevant trees) - if not formally commissioned then even a plan sketched by hand is of help
  • Topographic survey (if available)
  • An indication of your proposals, preferably with the footprint of any new structures overlaid on to a plan showing existing features
  • Any relevant photographs

Desk based feasibility study: in the first instance, it may be possible to give you a fairly good idea of what might or might not be feasible by viewing information you have prior to attending site, it may just save you precious time (and ££)?

Whatever your enquiry, give us a call on (01507) 480597 and we will be pleased to talk it through with you.

                       The end result of a well proposed scheme? Hopefully, planning consent! 

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