Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tree Constraints Plan – Charting out of Trees Surrounding the Development Site

The idea of tree constraints plan is based on the fact that any development site may have substantial part of trees around and on it. It requires to have careful tree survey as to know how many trees are there and what is their significance on that particular development site. In its report, environmental consultant needs to consider whether existing trees of good quality and value can greatly enhance new development, such as by providing an immediate appearance of maturity. However, trees can also be a constraints and therefore, in preparing tree constraints plan, one has to be careful as future occupiers may resent the retention of trees of an inappropriate size or species, and no amount of legal protection will ensure their retention and survival. In order to avoid such issues, it is the responsibility of the environmental consultant to have an accurate tree survey of the site and to prepare a detailed tree constraint plan that makes sure that there is a harmony between the development site and the trees surrounding it.

An accurate tree constraints plan also includes an accurate topographical survey which should be taken showing all relevant existing site features. These features may include where trees are present, clearance of vegetation to facilitate the survey process should be undertaken only if strictly necessary and with care using hand held machinery. Mechanized flails may be used in more open areas, although bulldozing or soil stripping should be avoided. The land survey the information of which is included in tree constraints plan should include:
  • the location of all trees, shrub masses, hedges etc.
  • other relevant features, such as streams, buildings and other structures, boundary features, trenching scars near to trees and services including drainage runs.
  • spot heights of ground level throughout the site, as a basis for avoiding changes in soil level around retained trees.
  • the approximate location of trees on land adjacent to the development site, that might influence the site or might be important as part of the local landscape character.