Quite a few of the recent development sites I have been approached about
seem to be demonstrate the following pattern. (these are not all the same
Council I might add).
* Architect produces plans.
* There is no tree survey, no Tree Constraints Plan or A.I.A.
Apparently no Arb advice offered formally or informally from any quarter.
Thus no professional consideration given to roots or canopies of trees on
site, or neighbouring trees. No consideration as to subsequent pressure
brought to bear on trees once new build is in place.
* Planning Dept give full approval, but condition a Tree Protection
Plan in the consent with a standard paragraph of text.
* I am approached to produce a Tree Protection Plan at the final hour.
This potentially puts me in a difficult position. It is hard to commit with
confidence to a T.P.P. when one is joining the project at such a late stage.
In some cases this is no problem. Trees are a suitable distance away
perhaps. Easy peasy. In such straight forward circumstances I'd agree that
there is no particular need for a formal A.I.A or tree Constraints Plan.
However, the trees on these sites are usually close enough as to ensure
significant root disturbance will take place in order to install the
construction. Sometimes access is an issue due to roots or canopies.
Associated Services have not been considered. Often root disturbance to
neighbouring trees is inevitable, and often it is clear that the trees will
subsequently be under pressure to need pruning.
As obvious as all this is to me (and would have been raised at an early
stage had I been consulted nearer the beginning of the project), there has
been no attention given to any of this within the tendering process, and
thus my efforts to influence or alter certain aspects of the project is met
with resentment from other quarters. As they may reasonably argue, they have
permission. As I point out, subject to a suitable T.P.P. (which I personally
need to have some faith in if I am to put my name to it).
One project had been so poorly considered that I simply declined to be
involved with it. (I hate turning work away, but don't fancy dead trees on
Most recently I have been approached in just such a manner but the tree in
question is a significant old Yew, prominent public access location with a
R.P.A of 12m. Within a Cons Area and most probably would qualify for a
The planners appear to be completely happy that an existing building is to
be demolished and replaced with a larger structure at approx 7m from the
tree on one side, and appear to have overlooked the proposal to install
drainage for the project within a trench 3.5m from the base of the tree on
another side. New / altered footpath and cut in steps also feature within
I am now in the position of remonstrating with the Architect on a number of
matters including the re routing of services, all of which will add un
planned for cost to the project and alter the current Construction Method
The overall message projected by these projects is that once Planning
Approval is gained, the Condition for a Tree Protection Plan is a formality
that can be discharged with little more than a fencing specification. This
greatly devalues the perception of our niche area of expertise by adjacent
professionals, and is especially frustrating when one appreciates how much
easier and successful the whole process can be with Arb involvement at the
inception of a project. (Of course, I am preaching to the converted on this
I feel confident that others out there will have experienced similar
scenarios where Arb involvement is so late as to mean damage to a tree is
basically a given, and the opportunity of meaningful tree protection has
already been missed. How do these situations arise, and what do others do is
such circumstances ? How can the Planning process be altered to prevent
these situations from arising?
Collective opinion valued, consultant and T.O. alike.
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