Saturday 16 February 2019
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What are tree protection plans and when are they needed?

What are tree protection plans and when are they needed?

When arboricultural impact assessments are prepared, it is important to substantiate them with tree protection plans and measures. The assessment will have taken into account the likely impact of a development on the trees in that area, or nearby ones. So, considering that more often than not the impact is a negative one, it is important to have mitigation plans which will involve a number of recommendations to make up for the potential damage or loss of trees.  Common damage that is done on trees during construction works include abrasion of the barks, crushing of roots by vehicles and machinery, severing of roots during excavation works, and broken branches. Roots can also end up being poisoned due to spillages, and the soil levels around the trees can easily change during construction work, leading to root death. Tree protection plans are thus prepared so as to make sure that the trees are not exposed to such damage.


A landscape architect will prepare and present accurate drawings, which will contain both the locations, as well as the dimensions of the trees that should ideally be retained. These trees will be plotted onto the site plan for precision purposes. Hence tree protection plans will provide a clear indication of any potential conflicts between the trees that are present on the site, and the proposed layout of the site or project.

The root protection area is an important part of such a plan. Protective measures are often increased according to the stem diameter. This is done in order to ensure that the branch spread is well protected. Various tree protective measures are detailed in the British Standard BS5837. Besides these measures, there are various recommendations listed in the standard, which offer guidance to successfully retain and protect suitable trees on the site and within close proximity to it.


The landscape architect will also annotate the necessary tree protection measures, which is a very important task during the construction process. Thanks to these tree protection measures, trees will be properly protected and safeguarded from damage or loss. Some of the most popular tree protection methods include temporary ground protection, and fencing.

It is important to hire an experienced landscape architect to take care of the preparation of your arboricultural assessment and the tree protection plan. Such documents are indispensable for a planning application to be approved in many cases. Contractors and developers are expected to show that they will be taking the necessary measures to protect trees in that area. Planning authorities take this very seriously and site visits are often made during construction works. These are carried out so as to ensure that the tree protection measures are indeed being implemented. Hence a developer or contractor should be on the safe side and ensure that this is done responsibly so as to prevent problems arising from these site visits.

In the tree protection plan there will be a list of trees which have been chosen for retention. These will be clearly identified by their location, type and numbered and marked on the plan.


The plan will also show the precise location of any tree protection fencing to be made for the retained trees. Such fencing will need to be erected before any other work commences on the site. It is important to ensure that the arboricultural work and all tree operations are undertaken by skilled and experienced tree work operatives. Moreover, the drawings and plans that will be used for the construction and design should be available to all parties in order to ensure that all those involved are fully aware of the protective measures to be taken.

Trees will need to adapt to their surroundings, and if they are radically changed it is going to prove very difficult for them to do so, and thus, manage to survive. Tree protection plans can enhance this while ensuring their best chance of survival.