Trees and development - our preferred approach

Information for anyone considering a new development near to trees.

We encourage pre-application discussions, so that any trees are considered at the earliest opportunity.

Our planning policy on trees

Saved policy ENV13 of The Rushmoor Local Plan Review states that:

'The council will not permit development which would adversely affect existing trees worthy of retention, particularly those subject to Tree Preservation Orders'.

Keeping existing trees

Trees are a material consideration for all types of development, whether it is a major development or a householder extension. We are keen to see important trees kept, and sensitively and sustainably positioned in the development.

Communication with developers

We encourage developers to talk to us as much as possible.  Discussion at the outset is the key to good design and a smooth route through the planning process.  Good developers understand that keeping important trees can improve the appearance of their site and help to sell new buildings quickly.

We will not generally serve Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on prospective development sites as, in the past, this has been counterproductive, resulting in pre-emptive felling by developers.  Our new approach should make sure that we can have open pre-application discussions that seek to retain only good trees.

Engaging a tree expert

To avoid a conflict with saved policy ENV13 of the Rushmoor Local Plan Review, we advise you to engage an arboricultural consultant at the outset to carry out a tree survey according to the recommendations of BS 5837:2012, 'Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction'. You can buy a copy from the BSI or from major book sellers.

Tree surveys

The tree survey identifies trees worthy of retention.  The survey will help you to understand the constraints of the site and plan the layout of the development.

The arboriculturist should then produce an arboricultural impact assessment to test the relationship between the chosen design and the retained trees, now and in the future. If development can be accommodated, the impact assessment  should provide information on how to carry out the construction to minimise the impact on existing trees.

Locating important trees in the layout

Ideally, the layout should put important trees in communal spaces to maximise their amenity value and reduce any negative impact on householders.

Sensitively retained, large canopy trees are important for climate change adaption and can add instant maturity and appeal to new residential developments.

Trees not worth keeping

Removing poor quality trees will allow the important trees more space to grow.  It may also allow the site to accommodate new structural tree planting, sensitively located and with sufficient rooting volume to be sustainable.

Sustainable ways of watering trees and plants

You can reduce the risk of flooding from surface rainwater in new developments by using large-scale water recycling. However, this needs to be thought about at the design stage.

Roofs can capture significant volumes of water that can be stored in tanks under ground (for example, under parking areas) and recycled to water trees and landscaping in the summer.  This can avoid trees and plants dying, even during hosepipe bans or times of drought.

Watering trees and plants also helps to combat the 'urban heat island effect' through the natural process of cooling through evapotranspiration. This is the loss of water from the soil both by evaporation and by the transpiration of plants.  This can help to improve the health and comfort of our residents, and its importance is recognised in the council's Core Strategy.

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