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Don’t stumble over tree roots!

tree roots

Planning permission has at last been granted on a site where trees have provided a stumbling block for at least two years. Following the use of radar by agb Environmental’s specialist arboricultural team. As an added benefit, the survey reduced both the cost and disruption of providing the evidence needed.

The site stood close to some large trees in an adjacent cemetery. Concerns had been raised over the impact of development both above and below ground on the trees. These are covered by Tree Preservation Order. Changes to the building design, had given the trees more space and reduced the loss of their public visibility. Unfortunately the application ground to a halt because of uncertainty over the impact on roots.

The site was used as a coach depot, with a mixture of hard-packed material and concrete covering the entire area. There was also a large brick boundary wall close to the trees. Whilst both the surfacing and wall were likely to mean root growth in the site was low, the Council’s Tree Officer needed evidence. It seemed there was little choice but to hand excavate a trench across the area to see what was below ground. This was before a decision could be made either way.

Initial enquiries were not promising; due to the uncertainty over what was being excavated, together with the large area involved, the potential costs were alarming! Apart from the excavation, there was also the cost of disruption as much of the coach depot would be out of action for two weeks. Then, once excavated, the trench would all need reinstating so that the site could continue to operate. This would be the case until planning permission was granted. All this with no guarantee of success.

Although tree radar has been used for a number of years to look at root growth without excavation, the early days were a little inconclusive. However, improvements in the technology have made it a much more effective tool for surveys.

agb Environmental undertook a tree radar survey which took a morning to cover not just the area previously earmarked for the trench. But everything between the trench and the boundary wall, and then a few metres further into the site. The coach depot was back to normal operation by lunchtime.

Within a couple of weeks, the analysis was complete. The report issued and the client relieved to know that root growth was even lower than expected. A couple of weeks later and the client emailed to tell us the good news – the Council’s Tree Officer was satisfied and planning approval had been granted. All with minimal disruption and a fraction of the cost of excavation.

Get in touch

If you have a problem site with trees, or think that tree radar may be able to help, let us know. Call Richard Parmee at agb Environmental on 01638 663226, or email richard@agbenvironmental.co.uk, to see how we can help.

*See picture to view results from tree root survey.

Arboriculture, News