UKTC Archive

BS5837 - how to categorise a hazardous tree with a known bat roost in it?

Subject: BS5837 - how to categorise a hazardous tree with a known bat roost in it?
From: Jon Heuch
Date: Oct 21 2020 17:12:59


I have had a couple of recent development applications that could have gone
either way on the basis of the categorization of a single large tree:


If it's a veteran, then the place is locked down and  you can't as much as
sneeze within at least 15 miles or maybe metres. Definitely A3. NPPF and all
that stuff.

If it's not it's clearly a huge liability and the development will totally
change the use of the area around the tree, so it better be truly reduced in
size. Definitely U unless a monolith or sculpture might work and allow
something to be retained.


..and it all depends on what the arboricultural consultant has to say.
Interesting. Someone might even read my report.


There may be something in between the two & clearly a-falling-apart tree
next to a road doesn't mean that an A3 graded tree is sacrosanct. An A3 tree
can be dangerous!


Step back, forget your initial opinion. Collect some facts/observations. Put
them together to build a bigger picture. Attempt to find some objective
criteria. Yes, we may be used to walking around a site and categorising
trees A,B,C & U without too much thought (Damn, I've given my technique
away) but this one is a big decision so it needs to be justified. At least a
paragraph per tree, possibly a table summarising all the issues.


I reverted to David Lonsdale's book and the Woodland Trust guidance. There's
a pretty table with sizes against species. One of my trees clearly didn't
make the grade of veteran based on size. That made life a little easier and
an accurate assessment of stem diameter meant that it was difficult to argue
against it. The second one was a third party tree so I didn't have full
access. Log the features that might make valuable habitat. If you can't see
them because of access (and that means upwards as well as sideways), you can
only do what you can do.  There is no harm in saying the tree needs a closer
inspection climbing or by other specialists if their judgment may make a big


What do you think your peers might say? If you think 8/10 cats are on one
side or the other you have your answer but if you are nearer 5/5 then it's
up to you to argue your case. If you argue it well, the tree officer should
be able to follow your logic and possibly even agree. If you pluck your
opinion out of thin air, everyone can disagree with  you if they want to.




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