Keeping our green spaces maintained and protected

The British Standard that relates to trees and development, stipulates that an Arboricultural Impact Assessment needs to be prepared after a tree survey has been carried out. These recommendations in relation to demolition and construction works are important as trees are very often affected by such projects and activities. As such the purpose of arboriculture assessments is to provide a written account of the various effects that any tree loss would imply should it have to be carried out for any form of development. The various issues that would need to be addressed will also be listed.

Apart from this arboriculture assessments are considered to be very useful tools to provide an assessment of the value of the particular trees in the wider landscape. The impact of any statutory controls will also be highlighted, along with any mitigation procedures that might be considered suitable. Any concerns that the local authority might have over any aspect of the development will also be addressed in arboricultural assessments.

Protected Tree. Image credit: Save Our Woods

Protected Tree. Image credit: Save Our Woods

Thus it is evident that having an arboricultural specialist carry out an evaluation and then prepare an arboricultural impact assessment to support the documentation for the submission of a development proposal is essential. Most likely if one tries to submit such a proposal, without a supporting arboricultural assessment, this will be requested by the authorities.

Actually an arboricultural assessment is considered to be the first step in the preparation of a more detailed development and management plan. Basically if a development is going to be proposed in an area where there are trees on the site itself, or even in the vicinity, such an assessment is basically a must. The arboricultural specialist that you hire for such a task should be experienced and professional as the survey needs to be carried out thoroughly, and to do this properly experience as well specialised tools and software is required. The arboricultural specialist will go on the potential development site and carry out a thorough survey of the trees, along with an evaluation of the most feasible protection measures to be in accordance with the rules and regulations relating to construction works. This can increase the chances of having the planning permission granted.

Particular emphasis will be placed on tree risk assessments. This is required so as to assess the likelihood of a tree falling in a given period of time, as well as to evaluate the targets that could be at risk should it really end up falling.

Protected Pine Trees Killed. Image credit: The Telegraph

Protected Pine Trees Killed. Image credit: The Telegraph

Arboricultural assessments play a key role in securing the safety of trees, most of which are mature trees that make up a part of our heritage in Kent landscape. These need to be conserved as much as possible, without unnecessarily restricting development works. A balance needs to be struck between urban development and the trees because both are important.

Arboriculture assessments and constraint plans, coupled up with tree risk assessments are of utmost importance. An arboricultural consultant will also offer advice on demolition and construction works that may need to be carried out in the proximity of trees or in tree protection zones. Advice will also be given when it comes to the management of woodlands and specimen trees. In case of tree preservation orders, an arboricultural consultant’s advice is also considered indispensable. Arboricultural assessments are carried out in accordance with the British Standard BS5837:2012, and the way it is carried out is somewhat standardised since it needs to take into account the trees’ particular arboricultural, ecological, landscape and cultural values. Their estimated remaining contribution is also taken into consideration.

Simply put, arboriculture assessments contain an appraisal of the situation of a site and the trees on the site and within its proximity, at the pre-construction stage. The arboriculture assessment will also detail the trees’ health and the potential impact that a construction project or development could have on the trees and vice versa, by the trees on the finished structure, should it be approved and completed. Recommendations are thus made on possible protection measures to be implemented during the construction work, and guidance on specialist construction methods for any structures that will be close to the trees. Professionally presented arboricultural assessments, along with tree constraint and protection plans thus need to be given importance to help in the permission for a proposal to be granted.