Managing Trees in Historic Landscapes
Parkland landscapes provide the setting to many fine properties in the UK. Many of these originated in the 18th or 19th centuries and have received little attention during the last hundred years; they are in need of remedial works to rediscover their full potential. If you own or have responsibility for such sites, we can help you to restore them.
Trees are generally a major component of these landscapes, and we can provide management plans which respect both the historic landscape design and current land use requirements. The plans will cover the following:
- Preservation of historic and veteran trees.
- Replanting to replace losses and recreate the original design.
- Management of woodland within or bordering the parkland.
- View and vista recreation.
- Avenue restoration.
Where these plans require a wide range of skills from other professionals including landscape architects, ecologists, hydrologists and archaeologists, we work with partners who have established track records in their field to deliver them.
The Tree and Woodland Company also has a lot of experience in project managing the restoration works detailed in the plans.
Landowners have a statutory duty of care to ensure potentially hazardous trees are properly managed. As a landowner or someone acting on the landowner’s behalf, you will want to strike the right balance between satisfying your legal obligations, minimising the cost of the work, and preserving trees in the landscape.
Our approach to tree hazard management fulfils these criteria, and is based on the Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA) method, for which we are licensed users. The system assesses the size of the hazardous tree or tree part, its likelihood of failure, and the nature of the target which could be hit, to give a risk of harm index.
Remedial work is recommended to bring the risk of harm within acceptable limits, and this assessment procedure is designed to keep the cost of tree works to a minimum. Climbing inspections or the use of decay detection technology are options for further assessment of trees where a more accurate picture of internal defects is required.
Ecological services are carried out on behalf of The Tree and Woodland Company by a specialist company with a proven track record in this field. These services can be delivered alongside our arboricultural and forestry services to form a single, seamless package for the client.
Services provided include protected species surveys and licensing, phase 1 and phase 2 habitat surveys, specialist ecological work for the BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) schemes, and Ecological Impact Assessments.
Surveys can be carried out for all protected species in England, Wales and Scotland, as well as Priority Species on the UK BAP and the NERC Act (2006). This includes bats, badgers, birds, water voles, amphibians, reptiles, dormice, otters and terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates.
These surveys are often produced to satisfy the requirements of the Local Planning Authority, and mitigation statements suitable for EPS licence applications for on development sites can be drawn up.
Where protected species or sensitive habitats have been found at a development site, it is often necessary for operations at the site to be supervised by an ecologist, the Ecological Clerk of Works (EcOW), to ensure that any potential ecological impacts are minimised. This may be required as part of a Method Statement, a European Protected Species licence or a planning condition and could include, amongst other things, supervision of building demolition by hand, hand-searching of vegetation prior to clearance, supervision of the erection of protective fencing and/or the supervision of the installation of mitigation features.
An Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey is often the first step in determining the ecological value of a site and identifying any constraints that may affect the project.
A Phase 1 Habitat Survey involves assessing and mapping the main habitat types in a defined area and producing a plant species list. Any features or habitats of interest such as mature trees or invasive/alien plant species are also highlighted. The survey is ‘Extended’ to include an assessment of the site’s likelihood to support protected or BAP Priority species such as bats, breeding birds, reptiles, great crested newts or badgers.
A desk study may also be undertaken – this involves acquiring historical records from the local biological records centre describing protected or notable species that have been found in the area.
If more detailed botanical surveys are required, we also offer Site Condition Monitoring, Phase 2 botanical/National Vegetation Classification (NVC) surveys and specialist botanical surveys such as lichens and bryophytes.
The BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) schemes are increasingly popular to demonstrate botanical improvement in a site post-development. Full site surveys and reports in relation to gaining Land Use and Ecology Credits under these schemes can be produced.
The first stage is to carry out a detailed botanical assessment and habitat classification on a site visit prior to any site works. Full protected species surveys must also be undertaken, if necessary, at an appropriate time of year, to determine whether demolition and construction works will affect bats or great crested newts.
Following the necessary site surveys, the proposed scheme is assessed against the criteria for the BREEAM Land Use and Ecology or CSH Ecology credits. This involves coordination with the landscape architects, as the planting scheme heavily influences the amount of credits that can be gained; the site should show a post-development improvement in the number of native botanical species per square metre, in order to qualify for the maximum number of credits.
An EcIA is often required on a development project as part of gaining planning permission; it combines all of the individual surveys that have been completed to give a list of Valued Ecological Resources against which the potential impacts of the development are assessed. Meaningful and achievable ecological mitigation measures are then suggested, in discussions with the proposed developer, to lower any potential impacts. The EcIA will then feed in to the wider Environmental Statement, as required under the Environmental Impact Regulations 2011.
Large new country houses require a suitable setting, and often creating a new parkland landscape around the house is the best way to achieve this.
We can produce masterplans detailing planting layouts and other features for this parkland setting, and can oversee the implementation of the work proposals where required.
Typical works include tree planting, fencing or walling, driveway construction, pond or lake creation, and grass seeding.
Trees have statutory protection through planning tools such as Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), Conservation Areas, or other Planning Conditions. Woodland thinning or felling requires a Felling Licence from the Forestry Commission, and mammals or birds that inhabit trees are protected by UK and European Law.
If you wish to undertake tree work in any of these scenarios, permission to do so is required; prosecutions, fines or enforcement action can be the penalty for acting without permission.
We are fully conversant with the implications of environmental and planning law, and can submit applications for work permission on your behalf. Occasionally planning tools such as TPOs are applied incorrectly to protect trees, and we can help resolve this for you by making representations to the Local Planning Authority.
Clearly financial assistance is a major incentive to carry out works to trees and woodland. There are grants of upto 80% of the cost available for woodland management, new planting, parkland restoration, hedgerow management, and remedial works to veteran and other important trees; both management plans and the work recommendations which result from the plans can be grant-aided. The Forestry Commission, Natural England, English Heritage, and The Heritage Lottery Fund are the main grant-giving bodies and we can make applications for grant on your behalf.
Our woodland management service is a flexible package which can cover the whole process from concept to completion, or just a part of this.
The first phase is planning, which normally involves the creation of a woodland management plan together with a detailed work programme. This can provide the basis for felling licences and grants from the Forestry Commission or Natural England.
We can then deliver the work programme for you, whether selective felling, thinning, coppicing, or replanting, using our regular contract teams or by project managing your in-house staff.
New woodlands can also be planned and designed to suit your requirements, and then planted by our teams or your staff under our guidance.
Planning is a vital tool to give strategic direction to the management of a woodland resource, and grants are available for this from the Forestry Commission. The process initially involves site assessment to gain a clear understanding of the woodland asset. Clear management objectives are defined in conjunction with the estate which will deliver the desired strategic aims; these will maintain a balance between sustainability, environmental, landscape and financial considerations.
A detailed work programme is devised to ensure the scope and timing of work is both desirable and achievable. This plan can provide the basis for gaining felling licences and grant for implementing the recommended work.
You may want to plant new woods in addition to managing existing ones, and we have much experience in both the design and implementation of new woodland planting. Our particular specialisms are projects where the priorities are conservation, sport, recreation, and landscape setting.
Planting plans are based on the use of species appropriate to the site soil type, aspect and microclimate; strong emphasis is given to species and structural diversity, to combat pest and disease issues and the potential impact of climate change.
Full specification detail accompanies the planting plan, meaning that it can be used by contractors to do the work.
The efficient delivery of the work programme to a high standard is essential, and The Tree and Woodland Company can project manage this process. We can either use contractors known to us who are of proven ability, or your own in-house teams; the work programme will be delivered efficiently within agreed timescales and budgets.
The range of work covers thinning, coppicing or felling using manual or mechanised methods, timber extraction and replanting. Timber can be marketed for you, and grants claimed for completed works.
Our skilled teams of planting contractors can deliver the planting for you, or we can project manage your own team. The following factors are carefully considered and the specification for each tailored to your project
- Ground preparation
- Plant selection
- Planting system
- Use of soil improvers
- Protection and support
Post-planting aftercare is a vital ingredient of successful plant establishment, and the key elements are watering, feeding, weed control, stake firming, support adjustment / removal, replacement of dead plants and formative pruning.
Aftercare programmes normally continue for 3-5 years after planting, depending on the project.
In terms of the planning process, trees are a material consideration in relation to development whether a new build or an extension to existing property. BS5837 (2012) ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction’ is the primary guidance for tree related planning applications and crucial for anyone working on development sites that include trees. It sets out guidelines and standards expected for tree care before, during and after construction.
The Tree and Woodland Company can help you to interpret this document and apply it to the context of your building project. We will assist as necessary during the feasibility, detailed design and onsite implementation stages of the process, ensuring that trees are appropriately managed and protected during the development process.
In accordance with BS5837 (2012) ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction’, the first phase of arboricultural input to a development project is the production of a pre-planning tree survey and tree constraints plan (TCP).
This survey determines the suitability of the trees for retention, and this information is transferred onto the tree constraints plan, together with canopy spreads and the root protection area around the tree trunk. This process highlights the above and below ground constraints to inform conceptual design. The resultant report can also be used as supporting documentation in pre-application discussions with the Local Planning Authority.
Once the detailed design is finalised an Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) is prepared to support a full planning application. This will evaluate the direct and indirect effects of the proposed design, and where necessary recommend mitigation. A Tree Protection Plan (TCP) will accompany the report indicating trees to be retained and removed, protective fencing alignment, and areas requiring special construction procedures. The AIA is usually submitted as part of a planning application
An Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) is required where any proposed activity on a development site could adversely impact trees that are to be retained. This will detail construction activities in proximity to trees and provide specific operational guidance to contractors, in order to minimise soil and root disturbance. We are highly experienced in this area, and produce technical AMS plans that are delivered to meet planning requirements and the rigours of on-site implementation.
Arboricultural monitoring and supervision during the construction phase is key to avoiding unnecessary damage to trees by ensuring the Arboricultural Method Statement is adhered to. This process also helps resolve any issues that arise during construction in relation to retained trees.
If necessary, liaison with Local Authorities and other relevant statutory bodies (English Heritage, Environment Agency) can be carried out during the development process.
The UK has 80% of the European population of veteran trees, and many of these have survived in historic parkland which were originally medieval deer parks. Some of our ancient oak, yew and lime are over a thousand years old, and these gnarled old warriors bring a unique sense of history to our landscapes; they are worthy of preferential treatment to preserve them and the intricate ecosystems they support.
The Tree and Woodland Company can provide the following;
- Management plans for veteran tree populations
- Tree health assessments and remedial work programmes, including rooting area improvements, sensitive tree surgery, appropriate management of surrounding vegetation and hard landscaping features (e.g. buildings, paths), and growing on of the next generation.
- Hazard tree assessments and solutions to hazards which minimise the need for work on the tree: for example, the rerouting of a footpath rather than carrying out branch or stem removal over the path.
You may require contractors to deliver work such as tree surgery, woodland thinning or tree planting, and need help managing this process. We offer a professional project management service to do this. Detailed specifications and contract documents can be produced and tendered to established contractors, and we can supervise the implementation of the work. We use certain contract teams regularly and can vouch for their work quality.