Tree surveys for planning applications

Under the Town & Country Planning Act, there is legislation that local planning authorities need to consider regarding the protection of trees when planning applications are made.

A tree survey for planning applications is usually required when trees are within influencing distance of the development proposals. Sometimes trees might not be located on the site itself but are close enough to the boundary to be affected by a development.

A BS5837 tree survey is required to be undertaken to determine whether a development will have an impact on the important trees within the landscape.

Tree surveys are also seen as important for the preservation of local wildlife but also to protect any surrounding development by ensuring that the important trees won’t be affected or affect it when it is built.

Tree presence and natural growth can cause damage to properties and affect property prices, the structural integrity of the build and maintenance costs as well. The tree surveyor can often advise on mitigation measures or alterations to the proposals to alleviate these impacts too.

However, it should be noted that a tree survey can also sometimes recommend that certain trees are removed due to them becoming diseased over time and/or causing a potential danger to property, buildings or highways for example.


The survey itself is done in a three-stage process and can vary from site to site:

  1. Tree survey plan. This is a drawn plan showing the location of every tree around the development area.
  2. Each tree is given a reference number and specific details of the tree which includes the type, height, if it has a TPO, age and other vital information.
  3. Tree constraints plan. This will show the details about each tree such as the root protection area, shade footprint and future growth potential.


How much will a BS5837 tree survey cost?

The cost to have a tree survey and report (often known as an Arboricultural Impact Assessment) completed by a qualified and trained professional will vary depending on the size, number and extent of trees but for a typical development would usually be somewhere in the region of £500-£1000.

Sometimes an Arboricultural Method Statement including a Tree Protection Plan would then also be required as a condition of any planning approval, to ensure the protection of the existing trees during construction and eventual occupation of the development

If you are unsure whether you might need a tree survey when planning your next project, please do get in touch with us to find out more information and advice on choosing a qualified surveyor.