08 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

How British Trees Affect Planning Regulations

ecological surveysGetting planning permission from local authorities  is one of the hardest parts of constructing or modifying UK property.

In many ways planning regulations represent a seemingly never-ending process of red tape and dealing with the authorites. Such is the difficulty of obtaining planning permission that the value of land can as much as double when permission to build on it has actually been secured.

Of course, while obtaining planning permission can be a frustrating process, it does serve a purpose. Most notably planning regulations are in place to ensure that buildings are erected or modified in a way that doesn’t cause undue damage to either the natural environment or the surrounding community. Whether they actually achieve that goal or not is of course up for debate.

Whatever your personal opinions of building regulations, they are a legal necessity so let’s take a close look at exactly what they entail, including the specific information you may have to provide together with the benefits to the environment.

First, to be allowed to proceed with any construction process, we are always required by our local authorities to hand in a valid planning tree survey report, including a Tree Survey and Tree Constraints Plan, an Arboricultural Impact and Method Assessment Statement, and a Tree Protection Plan.

We are also obliged to provide an ecological survey report, and both of which must be conducted in line with the BS 5837: 2012 protocols. What then are tree surveys and BS 5837: 2012 protocols? How important are they?

Tree Surveys, for that matter, are studies carried out by trained professionals (e.g. Arbtech Tree Surveys) to establish the pros and cons of designing, demolishing and putting up new structures with an aim of providing a harmonious relationship between trees and neighboring structures.

These surveys must always be conducted in line with the BS 5837: 2012 protocols. For clarity, BS 5837: 2012 are standards designed to protect trees from being destroyed by either builders, engineers, landscape architects, contractors or planners. They actually guarantee safety to trees. They address several issues such as drainage mechanisms, proximity of buildings to trees, topography and soil erosion, use of mulch and implications of using herbicides with the aim of protecting trees from possible harm.

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