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Do you need a topographic survey for a Arboricultural Impact Assessment?

topographic survey

Accurate plotting of trees is an essential part of any development survey. By making sure your topographic survey covers trees suitably, you won’t also need to pay for your Arboriculturist to plot them as well.

Accurate tree plotting can help you in two ways:

  • It provides confidence in the Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) – most importantly with the Council’s Tree Officer. If it is clear that trees are missing or in the wrong place, this can arouse suspicion that the report may also be flawed. Even if it is bullet-proof, it may still delay you getting planning permission while the report is scrutinised
  • It helps save you time and money – avoiding additional survey costs, unnecessary expense on more expensive construction to protect trees, and delays in rectifying problems when you commence work

If you are having a topographic survey on your site, make sure it covers all trees you need to include in an arboricultural survey as well. It helps ensure your tree plans will be accurate, saving time and money.

Most topographic surveys will record vegetation, but there is often wide variety in what and how it is recorded. Much depends on the scope you set for the surveyor. If trees are missed, or plotted as part of a large group rather than individually, when your arboricultural survey takes place, extra time might be needed to position trees at an additional cost if this has not been included in the quote.

If no topographic survey is available at the time of the tree survey, your arboricultural surveyor has to estimate tree locations, which may raise suspicions when the AIA is being assessed by the Local Planning Authority. Inaccurate plotting may then cause you problems:

  • Trees closer to development than plotted may mean that when you start work, your layout doesn’t relate to trees as expected, possibly causing delays to rectify errors – you may need to remove additional trees or use a more expensive approach to construction as a consequence
  • Trees further from development than plotted may not need the more expensive foundations or hard surface construction approach if you are obliged to use under planning condition – you have unnecessary expense

Contacting your Arboriculturist before commissioning the topographic survey can help avoid such problems. They will tell you what trees need to be recorded to ensure they are all included, so one survey can cover all plans. In general, the topographic survey should allow for surveying of:

  • All trees with a stem diameter of 75mm or more, when measured at 1.5m above ground
  • All trees of that size within and adjacent to the site, probably within 5m of the boundary and certainly if the crown is close to or already overhangs the site boundary.

Get in touch

agb Environmental can provide you with the specifications you need to cover trees in the topographic survey, or organise the survey for you, ensuring that you don’t lose the plot when it comes to trees on your development site. Contact Richard Parmee on 01638 663226 or to discuss your requirements further.

Arboriculture, News