Plans to develop will almost certainly bring you into contact with the Planning Department. If these plans include construction or excavation of any kind, the presence of existing trees on the site must be considered.
All planning application forms have a section that asks if there are trees on the site and if the proposals could be influenced by the trees onsite. The answers to these sections must be honest and detailed.
The assigned Planning Officer will, when necessary, involve the Natural Environment department to consult on these proposals.
If there are trees on site which might be affected you are strongly advised to seek pre-application advice with the Planning Department. The Natural Environment department can be consulted by the Planning Department.
The main ways in which existing trees can be affected by development are:
- Situating buildings and associated services too close
- Storage of materials and plant too close during the construction period
- Altering soil levels
Such practices can damage the canopy and more importantly, the roots of trees. They can also be deprived of water, or even become waterlogged. In most cases, this leads to the decline and eventual death of the tree.
Addressing the Issue of Trees in Planning Applications
For any development site containing trees, Torbay Council will require an Arboricultural Implication Study (AIS) to be submitted with the planning application.
It is essential that all the arboricultural implications are assessed and detailed at the application stage. This includes collection of all data on all trees on site, with reference to the British Standard BS5837 Trees in Relation to Construction, deciding which trees should be retained and which should be removed. It is essential that all interfaces between the development and the trees, their root zones, crowns and branches are assessed and discussed.
The AIS should contain the following information:
- The protection of trees within the total exclusion zones
- The location and type of protective fencing
- The location of the main sewerage and water services in relation to trees
- The location of all other underground services, i.e. gas, electricity and telecommunications
- The locations of roads, pathways, parking and other hard surfaces in relation to root zones
- Provision of design and engineering solutions to the above, for example, thrust boring for service runs; the use of porous surfaces for roads etc and the remedial works to maintain tree health such as irrigation and fertilisation systems; the use of geotextile membranes to control root spread
- Suggested locations for the site compound, office, parking and site access
- The replacement plantings necessary to compensate for the necessary losses
The AIS should be supported by relevant drawings of the site and layout with tree positions. It is suggested that plans be drawn at a minimum scale of 1:200 and be accurate to within 0.5 metres.
A professionally qualified arboricultural consultant should carry out the AIS. Torbay Council has produced Supplementary Planning Guidance Notes, which relates to Trees on Construction sites (see Related Documents).
This is only a very brief summary of the legislation that affects trees; it is by no means definitive and should only be used as a guide to what to be aware of and where to seek further advice.
Fast Track Tree Work Application Process
Torbay Spatial Planning is introducing a Fast Track tree work application process which will significantly reduce the amount of time prior to the issuing of the decision for certain application types. A significant number of applications relating to works to trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders and those within Conservation Areas received relate to entirely appropriate tree works that are in the interest of good tree management. They are likely to having only minimal impacts on tree health, appearance, public safety and the general enjoyment derived from the presence of trees in the landscape.
For your application to qualify for inclusion in the Fast Track process it is required to be compliant with the present validation requirements of the standard application form, but furthermore must accord with industry best practise as described in B.S:3998 2010 Tree Work – Recommendations.
Each application will be assessed against these requirements prior to validation. Where the proposed works are considered to accord with best practice and are supported by appropriate evidence we will seek to make an early determination and to subsequently issue the decision as soon as practically possible. This will be dependent upon any possible requirement for a site visit and access arrangements. Due to seasonal workload fluctuations decisions may not be issued immediately, however we will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible.
The fast track process will not be applied to applications within the following criteria
- Where the felling of trees is proposed (other than those applied for under the dead and dangerous exemption).
- Where the works proposed are likely to lead to significant public interest (i.e. major works proposed to numerous trees).
- Otherwise valid applications but where the works do not accord with industry best practice and will be detrimental to the retention of otherwise healthy trees.
Wherever possible you are encouraged to submit applications electronically. Applications can be submitted online at Planning Portal .
Application forms can be downloaded (and printed) from Planning Portal: Paper Forms .
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- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tel: 01803 207977
- Fax: 01803 207981
- Trees and Hedges Planning Forms
- Tree Preservation Orders