Tree Surveys Necessary to carry out for Trouble-free Site Development

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Tree surveys are part of the science called Arboriculture. Arboriculture is a branch of horticulture that is more concerned with the well-being of the individual plants. The well-being of the trees then is comprised of selecting the proper trees for the landscapes, proper care for the already planted trees, being well-informed about the pros and cons of their functionality and their visual impact on landscapes. There are many benefits of having trees near the residential area and commercial area as well. Such benefits are: interception of scorching sun rays, prevention of soil erosion, natural cooling of the immediate atmosphere, reduction in noise and many more. However, they can equally be a threat to the human habitats if they are of wild nature such as some of the invasive species out there in the world. Sometimes, their pollen, leaf pubescence, toxic sap, and strong fragrances may cause allergic infections or other health hazards to humans. In such a situation, it is important to take the help of efficient environmental consultancy.

In the United Kingdom, while planning any development, the details of the nearby trees is mandatory to be submitted to the local council. Such details need to be submitted in accordance with BS5837:2005 Trees in relation to construction - Recommendations. And, it is the responsibility of the local council to check the details of such planning carefully and if they are not meeting the stipulated criteria of the planning and development, it is authorized to release Tree Preservation Orders.

This BS5837 which exists since 1980 provides “guidance on how to decide which trees are appropriate for retention, on the means of protecting these trees during construction and on the means of incorporating trees into the developed landscape.” This standard also advocates that tree surveys should be taken with the help of an arboriculturist for the sake of recording information about the trees. This should be done independently and before any proposed design for the development. The results then are proposed to be included in the preparation of a tree constraints plan (TCP), which should then be used to design any prospective site development. This is what the basic idea of a tree survey is - to have all the information of all the trees near the development site. This standard also provides recommendations and guidance as what are the principles that need to be applied to “achieve a satisfactory juxtaposition of trees, including shrubs, hedges and hedgerows, with structures.”

However, Arboriculture is relatively new and evolving science which has certain statutory frameworks. Only a professional consultancy can guide the developers in right direction. Moreover, any site development that involves trees in its design is mandated to indulge in tree surveys to avoid Tree Preservation Orders from the local council. The professional environmental consultancies often have passion to make the landscapes beautiful and visual treats often integrated with the trees and often in a cost-effective and efficient way! Tree surveys then, though a welcome step to show our concern regarding the deteriorating state of environment, it is rather a task that is concerned with the trees that affect any site development or individual residents of a particular area.

Robin Lawson is an owner of environmental consultancy and guides owners regarding tree surveys and Tree Preservation Orders.

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