Tree surveys and arboricultural reports for homebuyers, planning applications and risk assesments

BS5837 Surveys

Have you been asked to provide a BS5837 tree survey

A BS5837 tree survey consists of 3 phases which are part of the planning and design process. Part 1 (a site survey and TCP) should ideally be done prior to any plans being drawn up. Often all 3 parts are completed post design as a single process.  This is normally done prior to submission of the planning application, although sometimes it is requested by the planning department after the application is submitted.

A topographical land survey should be carried out before-hand. The location of the trees can then be accurately plotted based on this map.

  1. A site survey is carried out to measure and assess the trees on the site. The trees are accessed for health and remaining lifespan. From this survey the trees are categorised into 4 categories.  The data is populated onto the topographical survey plan to give a TCP (tree constraints plan). The TCP show the above and underground spread of the tree canopy and its roots.
    • The architect and developers take into account the TCP. Valuable trees (category A and B trees) should be considered in the design process and given enough room to develop. Lower category trees can be removed if needed. Dangerous and unhealthy trees should be removed.
  2. An Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA)  is produced. This indicates which trees are to be removed from site and which are to be retained.
  3. An Arboricultural Method Statement is produced. This detail how any remaining trees will be protected from damage during the construction process.  A Tree Protection Plan is drawn up. This will show how the tree(s) to be retained will be protected during construction.

Reports for Site Developers

If your site has trees then it is likely that you will need a BS5837 survey. Its best to get it done sooner rather than later to avoid any delays in th planning process later. We can normally conduct an arboricultural report site visit within a day or two. It takes an additional two days to type up the report.

Cost depends on the number of trees but prices start from £350 (no vat)

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If it is urgent please let us know and we will do our best to fast track the report for you.


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There are a few different types the arboricultural reports we offer and different ways of surveying a tree.They all serve a different purpose. Here is an outline of what each report covers and what they involve

Arboricultural Survey: Tree Condition (Safety) Survey & Inspection

Trees are statistically safe (you are more likely to be hit by lightning than a falling tree) but they can, and do fall over and shed limbs. All tree owners have a duty (under duty of care legislation) to have their trees regularly checked. This can be done by the homeowner on an informal basis, but the more trees you have and the more which are located in high-risk areas (such as along footpaths/roads) the higher the responsibility.

As arborists, we can carry out a safety survey to highlight any defects, or high-risk trees within your property. A survey is normally conducted of all the trees within in a zone with a more detailed inspection conducted trees with defects.

The survey can record the location, height, canopy spread of all the trees on site or just the trees which require further attention. For larger properties, we can create zones based on risk. High-risk zones (eg. public areas, or along roads) can be surveyed with greater priority than lower risk zones and appropriate work recommended.

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Arboricultural Reports: Arboricultural Mortgage Report

This is often required by lenders to ensure that there is no risk of subsidence to the property which could affect the property value and ultimately mean the lender is unlikely to be able to recover their cost should things go wrong.

An arborist will visit the property and assess the trees to identify any problems and can recommend that a tree should be removed if it is likely to cause problems in the future.

Arboricultural Reports: Planning (Development site) surveys to BS5837

There are a few different aspects to planning surveys. You should have a BS5837 survey, an impact assessment, an arboriculture method statement and a tree protection (or tree constraints) plan. Usually, this is all bundled together and sent off with the planning application.

Arboricultural Reports: a BS5837 development site Tree Survey

BS5837 Tree Survey

The site should be surveyed topographically first. This is a normal part of the planning process in order to layout the site and will include details from ground levels to existing buildings, roads and services. An arborist will visit the site and survey the trees and produce a plan based on the topographical plan. Trees will be assessed and graded on their value and remaining contribution. Retention categories A (high value) to C (low value) are used with category U denoting trees to be removed.

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This should be done before the design stage and the high-value trees should be incorporated into the design.

After the design stage an arboriculture impact assessment is conducted which summarises the tree work required to facilitate the development. It will detail things such as how many trees are removed in each category, how the root zone of trees to be retained will be affected.

The Arboricultural method statement will detail how the existing trees can be retained with minimal disturbance. For example, it can recommend no-dig paving, storage of tools and chemicals away from root zones. The tree protection plan maps out the RPA (root protection area) around trees and the location of protective fencing around the trees.

Aerial Inspections

It’s somewhat of a rarity but there are occasions when it is necessary to climb the tree to survey it and assess it’s needs more closely …more info

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01902 59 58 52
43 Elmdon Road
WV10 6XN