One of the comments on my now defunct planning application asking for protection details for the site in accordance with BS 5837: 2012
It was my understanding that this didn't apply to domestic applications unless they included woodland on the site, and while we don't include woodland, we do have six mature trees in our back garden. None of them are exciting (three ash trees, a willow, a damson and some manky chestnut thing) and none of them are very close to the house (closest is twenty foot away from the proposed extension and next closest is fifty foot away). I'm getting a bit sick of being milked by the council for gigantic fees and don't especially want to pay an arboriculturalist shedloads of money to survey my manky trees. Given that none of them are protected, I would be well within my rights to fell the fuckers. Was this just a spurious comment? Can the council make me do it? Would the council make me do it? Should I just call up the planning department and ask?
A call to the tree conservation officer will let you know if you can take them down. If you get a tree man to do this he/she will probably check (or ask if you checked) as they don't want any comebacks. It is common for trees to be preserved in areas if older properties around here but I know it varies wildly around the UK.
I don't particularly want to take them down, but I really don't want to pay out yet more money to have some arboriculturalist grade them, do a site survey and then produce a report. Apart from one awesome ash and the brilliant weeping willow, which I love, the rest of them are really blah trees. I mean, they're useful as screening at the end of the garden, but they are nothing special. I don't understand why the council have consulted a tree man for the application - I mean, we're over the bleeding road from a literal forest. A FOREST. I don't think my six trees make much difference to the local ecosystem. My neighbours have a yew in their garden, and I can see why that is protected (although it's totally inappropriate in a domestic setting) but my yawnsome trees?
We withdrew the original planning application, and resubmitted it with changes a week ago - no comments yet but it's basically the same application but with the footprint slightly amended as suggested by the planning officer. We don't live in a conservation area and it was an informative comment rather than a condition. Thanks!
Ok, I'm really confused now. If you withdrew the previous planning application you won't have got a decision notice so no informatives. Was it instead a comment from the tree officer which would have become a condition if the application had been approved?
Until you have a permission you are not bound by any of its terms. If the trees are not protected and you are not in a conservation area you can fell them, up until the point a planning condition protects them. The planning condition could protect them if they were for example (not saying this applies here) an important visual screen for the works. An informative doesn't have the same weight and usually directs the applicant to other legislation they should comply with or similar.
In any case a tree protection condition only requires you to show how the trees would be protected during the course of development. A tree retention condition would require them to be retained. This would be something like 'The trees shown on plan XXX shall not be felled or lopped without a scheme for such felling or lopping having first been submitted to and approved in writing by the LPA.
A protection scheme in this case could be as simple as 'I intend to erect 2m Herris fencing (or similar) around the crown spread of the trees, between the points marked X -- X on the plan, for the duration of the construction works. No plant, machinery or other storage will take place within the protected area and no fires will be lit on site'. Use a copy of your site plan to draw it.
No need for an arboriculturalist or any survey works. Just the fee for discharging conditions. But no need to do anything at all until you get a decision notice and see what's on it. It is at the officer's discretion whether the tree officer's comments make it into the decision.