Arboriculture report using GPS tree survey
Arboriculture reporting using GPS tree survey

An arboricultural report is an assessment of the quality of the trees at a site as categorised by the British Standard 5837:2012.

Therefore, the future management of these trees can be determined to promote safety and protect trees in the area. So what is in this report?

Firstly, to focus on the health of each individual tree in the area, a catalogue by the arboricultural surveyor will include:

  • species of tree,
  • height of the tree,
  • trunk diameter,
  • the spread of the crown,
  • ground clearance of the canopy,
  • life stage of the tree (e.g young, mature),
  • health of the tree in general including disease or damage.

Secondly, the arboricultural surveyor will comment on each trees structural condition and health and safety issues.

Consequently, this will include any recommendations on tree care required. This tree will then be graded into a low, moderate or high-quality category.

Why do I need an Arboricultural Report?

Trees can pose a significant danger to the future of land, property and people, so a tree survey is needed to assess this risk.

In most cases, a professional body will require this for insurance or planning purposes. All reports will follow the regulations of British Standard 5837:2012.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common needs for an arboricultural report.

What is a Mortgage Tree Report?

When purchasing a property, a surveyor will assess the condition of the inside and outside for risks, defects and legal issues. As trees can develop a potential risk to nearby property these will need to be surveyed also.

In a mortgage tree report, a tree surveyor could identify risks such as branches are coming close to contact with windows or the roof. Another issue could be, tree roots are causing subsidence. These would provide concerns for you as a homebuyer but also the asset for the mortgage lender.

These tree survey reports will not only identify the risks but explain how these problems can be prevented.

Why do I need a Tree Survey For Planning?

Tree Survey plotting in Arboricultural Report
Ian Flatters plotting Tree Survey results.

Property developments tend to require clearance of trees to make way for new buildings. It’s extremely important before construction takes place an Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) is completed.

The tree survey for planning will detail for an AIA how to be best protect the current trees and the future of the property throughout the planning process. This will include reports on trees that need to be removed, kept and also how best to manage them.

The following details should be included in a tree survey planning report:

  • Health and safety risks – By assessing each tree individually, a surveyor can identify any structural weakening of the tree that can cause damage to the public or property.
  • Damage, disease and decay of current trees – If a tree is showing symptoms of these issues and is left untreated, it can lead to health and safety risks. As this can least to the tree falling, this would put any persons in the area under risk from injury and damage to nearby property.
  • The requirement for better quality trees – Should the property contain a large number of low-quality trees, any disease in the site can spread fast. Planting a more diverse selection would prevent tree-specific diseases from spreading.

BS5837 Tree Survey for Construction

BS5837 Fencing Protection
Fencing protection on a construction site.

Construction sites can cause damage to the environment of the site if it is not protected. BS5837 regulations for construction are there to provide a duty to protect the trees and soil in the development area. This damage can be caused by heavy machinery crushing the soil and roots, or even oil/fuel spills contaminating the soul.

In addition, with the result of the planning phase of an Arboricultural Impact Assessment, trees that are to be retained will require some form of protection. This will be in line with installing tree protection fencing in line with BS5837, which must be installed before site construction begins.

Tree protection fencing is there to protect the whole of the tree both below and above ground including the roots, branches, surrounding soil, trunk, bark and branches.

Abiding the law with an Arboricultural Report.

Trees can be protected by UK laws, preventing them from being removed. It’s important in any planning or construction phase the law is followed.  A qualified Arboriculturalist can advise on these which include:

  • Wildlife and Countryside Act protects trees that are home to wildlife,
  • Health and Safety at Work Act protects employees in high-risk work areas,
  • Duty of Care ensures the landowner is responsible for keeping the property safe.