Research Development at Thames Valley Science Park

About This Project


Natural History Museum

Project Team:

FCB Studios


Grant Associates


CPC Project Services

Carter Jonas


Science and Digitisation Centre, Thames Valley Science Park, Reading


CPC Project Services invited Tree Frontiers to tender for their project in Shinfield, Reading, on behalf of the Natural History Museum (NHM). NHM intended to submit plans for a new Collections, Digitisation & Research Centre with associated infrastructure and external works including car parking, SUDS basin and landscaping. National and Local Planning Policy would form a critical part of the design process and so a detailed survey of the existing tree stock was required in order to provide the design team with guidance as to the constraints presented by trees.

The Natural History Museum in London is a world-leading science centre and one of the most visited attractions in the UK. Employing around 370 scientists it strives to be a catalyst for change, finding solutions to the planetary emergency in all aspects of life. The new facility it has planned will improve access to its extensive collections, both physically and digitally, thereby enhancing its solutions-led research into areas such as biodiversity loss and climate change.

Project Description:

Following an initial conversation with CPC we were invited to tender for the arboricultural component of the project to construct a new research centre located amongst farmland to the south of the M4 south of Reading. The scope of the invitation to tender included a full tree survey in accordance with BS5837:2012, survey schedule, Arboricultural Feasibility Assessment, Arboricultural Impact Assessment and Arboricultural Method Statement. These would be used to assist in the design process as well as to support the planning application.

Tree Frontiers were successful in their tender and subsequently carried out a detailed survey of the trees within the site boundary, identifying a number of significant trees that would need to be factored in to the design during its early stages. This included veteran trees and ancient woodland, for which a retention and protection plan would need to be implemented.

Veteran Oak on southern boundary of site

Where trees were proposed for removal, we were able to confirm that these were of low or poor arboricultural quality and with limited life expectancy – replacement planting was proposed in order to compensate for the loss of trees as a direct result of the design proposal. Working closely with the Landscape Architect and Ecologist, we are able to develop a replacement planting scheme that follows the ‘right tree, right place’ principle. This included aiding with a list of replacement trees and woodland planting mixes which would not only provide a net gain in tree stock across the site but also help diversify the tree species mix in relation to climate change as well as minimising risks associated with future pests and disease.

Planning permission was granted at Planning Committee in March 2024. We are liaising with the project team to ensure that the details of the Arboricultural Method Statement can be adhered to and retained trees adequately protected when construction works begin.

A more detailed description of the project can be found in the Full Design Pack

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Trees, Structures and Development