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Tree surveys

Tree surveys


Existing trees are an important factor on development sites. Tree surveys provide the information required to allow their material consideration in the UK planning system.


First Ecology undertakes tree surveys in accordance with British Standard 5837 (2012) ‘Trees in relation to Design, Demolition & Construction – Recommendations’.


Tree surveys are undertaken by our experienced arboriculturists and record information about the trees on and adjacent to a site. The following attributes are recorded:


a) sequential reference number (to be recorded on the tree survey plan);


b) species listed by common name, with a key provided to scientific names;


c) height;


d) stem diameter;


e) branch spread, taken as a minimum at the four cardinal points, to derive an

accurate representation of the crown;


f) existing height above ground level of:

1) first significant branch and direction of growth;

2) canopy, to inform on ground clearance, crown/stem ratio and shading;


g) life stage (e.g. young, semi-mature, early mature, mature, over-mature);


h) general observations, particularly of structural and/or physiological condition (e.g. the presence of any decay and physical defect), and/or preliminary management recommendations;


i) estimated remaining contribution, in years (<10, 10+, 20+, 40+);


j) tree quality category U or A to C grading



The results of the tree survey, including material constraints arising from existing trees that merit retention, are used, along with any other relevant baseline data, to inform feasibility studies and design options.


Tree surveys undertaken after a detailed design has been prepared identify significant conflicts. In such cases, the quality of affected trees is evaluated against the type and need for the proposed development and the extent to which the design can be modified to accommodate trees meriting retention.


Where proposed development is subject to planning control, a tree survey is an important part of the evidence base underpinning the design and access statement. Early procurement of a tree survey avoids the risk of project delay due to material constraints being identified at a late stage.