The most vulnerable part of a tree is its root system. A tree depends on its root system for anchorage, water uptake and storage of energy. Roots are easily damaged by trenching and excavation works. Roots can also be damaged and often killed by compaction and damage to the soils in which they grow.

The movement of vehicles and machinery, the storage of building materials and general building activity will cause compaction and damage to the soils.

Trees and their root systems can also be damaged or killed as a result of spillage of substances used on building sites such as petrol, diesel, oil, cement and other chemicals. Care should be taken when storing or disposing of these substances.

Fires should not be lit beneath or close to trees. The heat from a fire can kill parts of the tree including the trunk and branches.

To prevent unnecessary damage to trees, tree protection fences must be erected before work starts on site.  The fences must remain intact and in their original position until all construction and site work is complete.

No works should be carried out inside the “Protected Area”.

Service trenches and drains should be routed outside the “Protected Area”.

All building, excavation and demolition materials, site huts, plant, machinery and vehicles should be kept outside the “Protected Area”.

Signs should be fixed to the tree protection fence stating its purpose and importance.

If work within the “Protected Area” is unavoidable the written consent of the Local Planning Authority must be obtained beforehand.

Where possible a copy of this guidance note should be kept on site for reference.

We would encourage anyone that is thinking about making changes to their land or is interested in developing a site to consider the impact on trees at an early stage and suggest that developers utilise the Council’s Pre-application Advice service. By using this service, your proposals will be reviewed in terms of their impact on trees alongside other planning considerations and potential site constraints. In this way you will get a good understanding of all the requirements for a subsequent full application and any potential conflicts between trees and other site constraints can be highlighted at an early stage.

Last updated: 14 April 2016

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