Trees, Structures and Development

Driven by our core value of sustainable tree management, we offer practical and deliverable advice on how best to manage trees as assets to a development site, rather than constraints that limit development potential.

Many Local Planning Authorities are developing sophisticated planning policies with a sustainability ethos at its heart.   This is driven by the UK government’s commitment to environmental gains and sustainability, outlined in the 25 Year Environment Plan, and well as other plans that are continuously evolving and emerging. These are requiring increasingly co-ordinated approaches between many professional disciplines to ensure that development schemes deliver as required. At Tree Frontiers, we have links with other professional disciplines and work closely with these teams to help deliver our clients projects.

Current best practice guidance for the relationship between trees and development is provided by BS5837: 2012 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction. Working closely with other members of a development team, we can undertake all of the stages required to successfully deliver a development scheme in relation to trees:

Feasibility Assessment
  • Complete a tree survey to determine the age, diversity and quality of the existing tree stock on a development site.
  • As technologies are developed and evolve, new opportunities arise and one of the most profound of these in recent years has been the boom in the drone sector. Drones can provide a quick and cost effective way of gathering data at all stages of a development, and Tree Frontiers is licenced with the Civil Aviation Authority to use drone in a commercial environment.
  • Prepare a feasibility assessment outlining the key constraints presented on a site
Concept Design
  • We work with the design team to ensure that trees are a core consideration in design evolution, seeking to help use trees to provide a Sense of Place and provide value to a development scheme.
Arboricultural Impact Assessment
  • Prepare the required reports and plans to support a planning application, demonstrating how retained trees will be protected and working with the project landscape team to determine appropriate mitigation for any tree loss.
Tree Protection
  • Once planning consent has been granted, the construction team need to prepare plans and mobilise teams on the ground to commence works. The protection of retained trees is critical at this stage as space become a premium and unoccupied ground around trees can be seen to be unused. A critical role for us at this stage is providing detailed plans and method statements to show how tree protection will work, and to explain the contractors the value of trees as assets to the scheme.
  • Many local authorities will require protection plans to be provided as a condition of the planning consent and will expect a programme of monitoring throughout the development phase to ensure that the protection measures are being maintained.
Development Phase Support
  • Tree Frontiers offers a service in monitoring development projects, working closely with the main works contractor and client team to maintain the balance between practical issues on site in having to complete a build, and ensuring that the retained trees are not impacted and they will continue to thrive post completion.
Trees and the Built Environment
(Image Courtesy of The London Tree Officers Association (www.ltoa.org.uk)

Trees provide a wide and varied range of benefits. They provide habitat for birds, animals, insects and other living organisms. They produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants. They slow floodwater, provide shade, release scents that create positive emotional responses. They help mark the passage of time, while increasing property prices and provide a sense of wellbeing. They provide employment and provide a sustainable source of energy. The list continues, but the overall message is that Trees Are Good.

It is therefore critical that trees are managed responsibly and sustainably, able to thrive as the the environment around them changes. These changes may be man-made (such as development), man-induced (such as climate change) or simply nature taking its course (pests and diseases). The right tree management solutions will help to ensure that the existing tree stock can be enhanced so as to provide their benefits to future generations.

The enhancement of existing trees does not mean a “no removal” approach. It requires a managed approach to help create space for existing trees to grow and providing the right growing environment for future trees. The removal of trees in the right circumstances can be beneficial and sometimes necessary. A Tree Frontiers, we have the experience and understanding of what is required to ensure a healthy tree population.

Trees and Structures

When there is conflict between trees and structures, whether buildings, walls, roads, footpaths, underground or overhead services, we can offer advice on the most appropriate solutions. There may be a requirement to engage with other professionals such as structural engineers, drainage engineers or utility companies, but we have the connections and relationships with trusted associates to be able to ensure that your needs are met.