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Save time, money and reduce risk – the multidiscipline approach to surveys

ecology CPD

Planning applications often need to be supported by several reports containing a diverse range of recommendations. These may be provided by an equally diverse range of consultants who may never be involved in the development of other reports. This can lead to increased costs and delays if problems arise as a result of conflicting recommendations.

As a typical example of what can happen, agb Environmental recently worked on a site in central London, providing reports covering a range of surveys, including trees and land contamination. For two of the sites, the ground investigation found that both sites contained contaminated soils, with the reports recommending all soil in the new garden areas should be replaced to a depth of 600mm, including close to a group of trees. However, the arboricultural impact assessments provided a recommendation to protect roots from damage by excavation.

So, on one hand you have one report saying not to excavate near to trees, and another saying you need to dig out all the soil near to the same trees.

If both of these reports were submitted with the planning application, this conflict may have been picked up by the local planning authority (LPA) or, if missed (as the reports would have gone to different departments), both cases would have led to a delay and timely costs.

Because both reports were covered by the same company, we were able to identify this conflict before the reports were issued. The two departments then worked together to develop recommendations that acknowledged the issues posed by both trees and contamination. This will then alert all relevant departments in the LPA to allow approval of an appropriate approach before development commences. This approach also prevents expensive claims from the build contractor as a result of uncertainty within the contract documentation.

Similar conflicts can crop up between many other types of report required for planning permission. At agb Environmental we cover many of these under one roof. So, instead of having to liaise with a potentially large number of separate consultants and cross-check their report recommendations, you can have one point of contact for them all, letting us sort out the headache of conflicting recommendations.

For more information on contaminated land assessments, arboricultural impact assessments (and associated tree surveys) or for any type of development based environmental survey, contact Alex Brearley at agb Environmental on 01638 663226 or email

Arboriculture, Contaminated Land, News