There are lots of different types of tree surveys and reports and these depend upon what your specific requirements are. Tree surveys and reports in London can be costly so it’s always worth seeking professional advice from experienced arboriculturalists to determine the type of survey and report you might need.
Here is a list of the types of tree surveys we’ll mention in this article:
- Tree Survey and Report for Planning Purposes (BS 5837 tree survey)
- Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA)
- Arboricultural Method Statement
- Ecological survey
- Tree Protection Plan
- Tree condition survey and report – for safety
- Pre-purchase tree survey – when buying a property or land
- Subsidence management tree survey
- Tree preservation orders (TPOs)
- Focused tree survey
- Full inventory tree survey
- QTRA – Quantified Tree Risk Assessment
- Decay detection survey
- Climbed tree survey
Types of Tree Surveys: Planning Permission Tree Survey and Report
If you intend to submit a planning application, you need to think about any trees that are located near to or on the site. For planning applications, you need a BS 5837 tree survey. This is a British Standard and it specifies what information needs to be gathered from a tree survey to be included in the tree report.
Tree surveyors can assist developers in getting their planning consent through by ensuring that there is minimum impact to trees.
Depending on where you are in London, your tree survey and report needs to be tailored to the tree officer in the planning department of the individual local authority. A BS 5837 might also need an AIA. This is an Arboricultural Impact Assessment.
After proposals are finalised, there may be a requirement to have an Arboricultural Method Statement because planning can begin. This will help to ensure that contractors don’t damage trees accidentally when on site. The Arboricultural Method Statement might look at necessary tree pruning, the installation of over-ground or underground services, road construction techniques, specifications of protective fencing, regrading of land, storage, the handling of materials that might be a health hazard to trees, soil compaction and movement of machinery.
With planning, you may also need an Ecological Survey carried out, depending on the specifics of your plans and the local authority. The ecological survey will consider bats, water voles, badgers, otters, amphibians and dormice, for example. Where protected species are identified, the proposed development’s implications will be assessed, and measures will be put into place accordingly.
With the Arboricultural Method Statement, there will be a Tree Protection Plan. This will identify areas where measures are needed to restrict activity in the identified areas. This means that the project can go well, and no trees will be damaged inadvertently.
Tree Constraints Plan
A Tree Constraints Plan is a CAD drawing that indicates the position of each tree, its crown spread, shade constraints, root protection areas and colour-coded retention category as per BS 5837. The purpose of a tree constraints plan is to help designers take trees into account.
Tree Data Schedule
A tree data schedule displays your BS 5837 tree survey’s data. Each tree’s age, dimensions, condition, amenity value, life expectancy, species, defects, recommendations and BS 5837 retention category are shown in the form of a table. Each tree also has a scaled diagram.
Pre-purchase Tree Report and Survey
When you are looking to sell or buy a house, you will need a tree survey to assess the property for tree failure and subsidence risk. Pre-purchase tree surveys include any tree that could be an influence on the property and the report will provide any recommendations to risk reduction.
Subsidence Management Tree Report and Survey
When you already have an occurrence of subsidence, you will require a tree survey with a report to understand which trees have caused the subsidence. The tree report will give recommendations on reducing risks in the future.
Tree Preservation Orders – TPOs
Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, Local Authorities can create TPOs (Tree Preservation Orders). TPOs might exist for single trees, groupings of trees or entire woodlands. The purpose behind TPOs is for the protection of trees from being removed or improperly pruned.
Legal and Expert Witness – Litigation
Should trees cause damage to individuals or property, there can be tree surveys and reports that are at standards approved by courts of law.
Tree Condition Surveys
If there is concern about a tree’s condition, then it is a good idea to have a tree survey for management and safety purposes. A tree surveyor can examine trees for diseases and defects. The tree survey will identify tree defects like decay and weak branch junctions. The structural integrity of each tree will be assessed, and the report findings will recommend remedy works that will reduce any risks to be an acceptable level.
There are different tree condition surveys, and these depend on how many trees are being assessed and the budget available.
Full Inventory Tree Surveys and Focused Inventory Tree Surveys
Both tree surveys will inspect all trees on the site that have a diameter greater than 150mm and both will report upon any work that is required. The published tree reports will comply fully with the Occupiers Liability Act.
A full inventory tree survey will give you an in-depth level of information on all the inspected trees whereas a focused inventory tree survey will only give information on those trees requiring work. The latter is more economical.
QTRA (Quantified Tree Risk Assessment Tree Survey)
This type of tree survey is usually popular with people who are responsible for a large number of trees. The QTRA system gives a figure that represents the likelihood of the occurrence of significant harm.
Decay Detection – Specialist Tree Survey
This is a specialist type of tree survey that will assess the depth of decay within a tree. This survey requires the use of ultrasound and Resistograph equipment.
Climbed Tree Surveys
Sometimes the extent of tree defects is not obvious from the ground and so a climbed tree survey might be recommended.
Article was written by Louise W.