Building near a tree

As a local authority, we have a statutory duty to consider the protection and planting of trees when granting planning permission for proposed development. Trees are considered as part of the planning process, regardless of whether they are protected (by Tree Preservation Order or Conservation Order) or not.

Planning permission

You must get permission for any permitted development scheme that may affect protected trees, which includes their root systems.

If you want to build near a tree you will need to provide information in line with the British Standard – BS 5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition, and construction – Recommendations’ to support your application. Without this information, your application is likely to be invalidated or refused.

We encourage you to seek professional advice from arboricultural consultants who will provide the necessary information and reports in line with the British Standard and our requirements.

Planning validation requirements

Where there are trees within the application site, or on land adjacent to it that could influence or be affected by the development (including street trees), further information may be required.  You will need to specify which trees will be kept and how they will be protected during construction works.

For applications where trees might be affected, the application may also need the following information:

  • tree survey including root protection areas (RPAs)
  • tree retention/removal plan
  • tree protection plan
  • details of retained trees with RPA’s on the proposed layout
  • arboricultural impact assessment

Depending on the site you may also be required to submit some or all of the following:

  • details of existing and proposed finished levels
  • arboricultural method statement
  • details for any proposed development activities and/or specialist engineering within RPAs
  • a strategic hard and soft landscape design including species and locations of new planting

This information should be prepared by a person, who has through relevant education, training and experience, gained expertise in the field of trees in relation to construction.

Unauthorised works

If you do not get permission for permitted development which causes damage, or the decline of protected trees, it may be classed as unauthorised work. Organising or undertaking unauthorised works that cause damage to protected trees is an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act. The council may seek prosecution of those found guilty which if convicted in court can lead to fines of up to £20,000 and a criminal record.

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