Trees are part of the planning process even if they are not in a conservation area or do not have a tree preservation order (TPO).

All building works with trees in the development area need to find ways of including these without causing harm or destroying them.

This includes small building works such as building a conservatory.

Tree survey

You should get a tree survey from a recognised tree specialist if you are planning to develop.

This must conform to the BS5837:2012 (trees in relation to design, demolition and construction recommendations).

A tree survey will provide an assessment of the species, health and amenity value of the trees, hedgerows and other significant vegetation.

Trees and utility lines

It is often necessary for trenches to be dug to feed electricity, gas and water to your home. This is also the case for carrying out maintenance on existing services.

Below ground utilities are often installed close to tree roots.

Damage to tree roots

Most tree roots are within the top 60cm of the soil. The roots are highly branched near the stem and create a network of woody roots. This can extend for a distance greater than the height of the tree.

Damage to tree roots can have an impact on the trees ability to absorb the water and nutrients needed by the tree to survive.

Damage to larger woody roots can also affect the trees stability.

Tree roots damage can be avoided if contractors carry out any works next to trees by following BS5837:2012 (trees in relation to design, demolition and construction).

How to report damage to trees

You can use our problem with a tree form to report:

  • open trenches where there is damage to tree roots
  • building developments causing harm to trees

We can impose planning conditions on developments affecting trees to protect trees in the construction process.

More information

You can find more guidance on trees and building works in our trees and development sites SPD document.

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