Trees & development management

Planning policy

The consideration of tree or arboricultural matters is an important part of the determination of a planning application. It is guided by national, regional and local policies, including Local Plan policy 10 and the National Planning Policy Framework.

Pre application discussions

It is often useful to enter into discussions with the Local Planning Authority before making a planning application. Please note that there may be a charge for pre-application advice, depending on the size and complexity of the proposals.

For any pre-application discussions to take place it is important for us to have a clear idea of your proposals, with sufficient information on which to assess them. We are unable to make any site visits without this information. 

You should provide:

  • location map
  • site plan indicating the location, approximate size and species of trees, woodland, hedgerows and scrub 
  • photographs of the site
  • sketch plans of your proposals
  • overall landscape plan for the site post development
  • general details of any trees, woodlands, hedgerows etc to be removed
  • general details of any landscaping, particularly tree-planting, that is part of the proposed development

The opinion we provide as part of pre-application discussions is not binding on the Council in its determination of any planning application.

The application process

As part of your planning application you may be asked to provide additional tree or arboricultural information, the level of which will depend on the type, scale and complexity of the application.  Each application type is accompanied by a checklist, which states what information should be submitted with the application.

Tree survey

If your proposals involve development (including laying of cables, building new walls or fences, location of construction compounds, etc.) within 2m of the canopy of a tree, including trees outside of your development site, a tree survey will be required. In some instances, an Arboricultural Implications Assessment will be needed.

The tree survey information should be shown on the submitted layout drawings and should include the position and canopy spread of all trees. Additional information such as the species and condition of the trees may also be useful.

If you are unsure as to whether your application will require such an assessment or survey, please contact us. 

Arboricultural Implications Assessment

An Arboricultural Implications Assessment should be submitted:

  • where any trees that may be affected by the development  are within a conservation area or are protected by a tree preservation order,
  • for major or complex applications that affect a number of trees.  

If you are unsure as to whether your application will require such an assessment, please contact us.

The assessment should make it clear how any tree in and adjacent to the proposed development site has been incorporated into the design of the development and how the trees will be retained without damage, both during construction and in future use of the site. The assessment should be prepared following the guidance in BS 5837 (2012) - Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction. Recommendations.

The assessment should include:

  • details of any protected trees, e.g. tree preservation orders, conservation areas,
  • tree survey drawing and schedule providing details on species, size, age, condition and useful life expectancy of all trees on site. It should categorise all trees and woodland in terms of their quality and value within their existing context, not within the context of the proposals.
  • arboricultural constraints plan. This should guide the layout of the proposed development.  It will include the root protection areas of all the existing trees, as well as the affect that the height and spread of any retained trees might have on the development. It should include both above-ground constraints, e.g. shade and light, and below-ground constraints, e.g. roots.
  • Tree Protection Plan. A scale drawing showing the layout of the proposed development (including all utility works, e.g. cable-laying, landscaping, etc.), tree retention proposals and tree and landscape protection proposals with details to be included in the Arboricultural Method Statement,
  • Arboricultural Method Statement. This should set out the measures that will be taken to protect any retained trees, woodland, hedgerows, etc. and detail the method for the implementation of any part of the proposal that has the potential to cause loss or damage to a retained tree. 

You will find it helpful to prepare the Arboricultural Implications Assessment in conjunction with the landscape assessment/appraisal or landscape scheme that is submitted for a development proposal.

It is likely that a suitably qualified and experienced arboricultural or tree expert will have to be appointed to carry out this work.  Further information on how to select and appoint an arboricultural or tree consultant is available on our website.

Your planning permission

Your planning permission may include conditions relating to landscaping and trees and it is important that you comply with these conditions, for example by implementing the tree protection scheme (tree protection plan and arboricultural method statement) or re-planting any trees or shrubs that die.

Cotswold District Council
Trinity Road
Cirencester
Gloucestershire
GL7 1PX