Trees, Woodlands and Forests. A guide for developers and planners Northwest Regional Forestry Framework

Development and trees

There is a methodical process that should be followed to incorporate trees into new developments.

1Land survey

This needs to illustrate the topography of the site, the trees within the site, and those adjacent to it that may influence the development or form part of the local landscape character.

2Tree survey

A competent arboriculturalist should undertake a tree survey independently of and prior to any specific design for development. This will help to identify trees that are suitable for retention. The Arboricultural Association has a list of Registered Consultants

3Identify trees suitable for retention

In assessing the value of trees, regard should be given to:

  • visibility – the extent to which trees and woodland can be seen by the public, i.e. from a footpath or road.
  • size and form – such as the rarity of trees, their potential growth and value as a screen.
  • wider impact – the significance in their local area, how suitable they are to the area and other trees in the vicinity.

4Tree constraints plan

This design tool helps to outline the impact any retained trees on or adjacent to development will have. This should include the below ground constraints, represented by the Root Protection Area (RPA) and the above ground constraints of their size and condition.

5Initial development design

Initial development and landscape treatment design should have due regard for:

  • TPOs, Conservation Areas, Planning Conditions and Covenants
  • Landscape and Townscape Character
  • Potential ecological issues in respect of protected species
  • Light and shading
  • New tree planting that may be necessary
  • Changes in ground levels
  • Hard and soft surfacing treatments
  • Infrastructure requirements
  • Ground conditions and subsidence

6Liaison with the LPA

Pre-application discussions with planning officers and tree officers should be used to demonstrate the reasoning and justifications for design decisions made in respect of tree removal, arboricultural works and new tree planting. These discussions can help identify and address issues at an early stage and avoid potential delays at a later date.

7Revise design as required

8Final design

9Planning application approval