If you are planning to buy a house and a bank tells you that it requires a tree survey to be performed before they provide you with a mortgage, you may be asking yourself:

“Why would I need a tree survey?! All I want is a mortgage!” Or you are planning to build an extension to your house and the council request a tree survey. You may be thinking ‘’ I don’t own any trees’’. But your neighbours might, and the build could adversely affect these trees.

The reality is, that whether they are on private or public grounds, trees will often need to be surveyed for a variety of reasons, and that’s why we have arboricultural consultants, or arborists.

What types of tree survey are there?

In general, there are five frequently requested surveys, each for a different reason:

Tree Risk Assessment Report

Unbeknownst to many, if a tree causes harm due to falling branches or similar and that tree is located on land that you own, then you can be legally liable for their injury. If you are worried that a tree may have been weakened structurally due to bad weather or human intervention, then it is a great idea to get an arborist / arboricultural consultant to perform a tree risk assessment report. This means that you can follow the advice of a professional – by having the tree removed or having the risk that the tree poses assessed – and in the event of an accident, you can show that you consulted a professional regarding the situation and demonstrate that you have fulfilled your duty of care.

Tree Mortgage Report

As in the situation mentioned previously, a lender for a house purchase may ask for a tree mortgage report to be carried out prior to signing off on the loan. This is usually because they are worried that a tree in the grounds of the property may have an effect on the home. This type of survey is usually undertaken as the lender is concerned about how the tree may affect the structure.

Tree Valuation Report

There are many trees across the UK which are worth a surprising amount of money. This can be due to their age, the rarity of the specie reaching maturity, or simply due to its outstanding beauty. If you have a tree in your grounds that you would like to learn more about, including its value, then an arborist / arboricultural consultant will be able to help.

BS5837 Tree Survey For Planning 

These reports are rare for most people. But if you work in construction and architecture, you’ll likely be running into these reports more often. Whenever a structure is to be built, you need to make sure that nearby trees will not be adversely affected by the build and if they are, you will need to demonstrate how you plan to mitigate these issues. Project managers, planners and or architects will enlist the help of an arborist / arboricultural consultant to show what trees should be removed, what trees can be retained and how those trees are to be retained.

Tree Protection Orders & Conservation Areas

We are extremely lucky to live in a beautiful country with areas of historical and cultural importance. Areas which fulfil certain criteria can be protected by a Conservation Area, which among other things protects all trees with a trunk diameter of more than 75mm when measured at 1.5m from ground level. You have to give your local planning authority six weeks’ notice before carrying out work on trees which are located in a conservation area but are not yet the subject of a tree preservation order. This gives the authority an opportunity to consider whether an order should be made to protect the trees with a Tree Preservation Order.

A Tree Preservation Order is an order made by a local planning authority in England to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands in the interests of amenity. An Order prohibits the, cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage and or wilful destruction of trees without the local planning authority’s written consent. If consent is given, it can be subject to conditions which have to be followed. In the Secretary of State’s view, cutting roots is also a prohibited activity and requires the authority’s consent.

An arborist / arboricultural consultant can be enlisted to help make applications for works, object to refused consent and also to object to the making of a recently created tree preservation order.

While there are more types of tree surveys, these represent the vast majority of those carried out by professional arborists / arboricultural consultants across the country. If you feel one or more of the above surveys would be useful to you, why not get in touch?

Matthew Lally has worked with trees across Europe for over 15 years. He holds a degree in arboriculture and is recognised as a LANTRA Professional Tree Inspector, and as a professional member of the Arboricultural Association. So, if you need of some friendly advice, a tree survey, a risk inspection, or a TPO consultation, why not contact Lally Tree Management today?