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Care of trees within development sites

Trees within development sites

Trees close to building works could be damaged in two ways:

  1. The trunk and branches damaged by demolition and construction vehicles.
  2. The roots damaged by ground compaction and excavations.

Protective fencing

The position of this fencing may have already been agreed as part of the planning permission. However, if not, it is likely that there will be a planning condition requiring the location to be agreed in writing beforehand by us.

The approved plans and planning conditions can be viewed on our Planning Applications page.

Please check the approved tree protection measures and comply with related planning conditions before any materials or machinery are brought on site and before development commences.

Generally, the distance for protective fencing for trees is determined by the diameter of the trunk at 1.5m above ground level multiplied by 12. For example, a tree with a trunk measuring 50cms diameter will require fences to be 6m away from its centre.

Advice is best sought from an arboriculturist. The Arboriculturist Association can provide information via their website.

Type of fencing

An example of the type of fencing used for tree protection is shown in the download below. However, it should be a minimum of 2.3m high and use vertical and horizontal scaffolding poles with the uprights driven well into the ground and well braced to resist impact. Onto this weldmesh panels (without the use of rubber or concrete feet) should be securely fixed.  Full details of BS5837 can be purchased from BSI website.

Dos and don'ts for tree protection during construction work

Do

  • Do ensure that all trees are protected before demolition or other site works with the correct type of fencing. The fencing should be to the standard set in BS5837, 2012 and/or approved plans/planning conditions, and remains in position until the development is complete.
  • Do ensure that everyone involved in the works are told about tree protection measures and their importance.
  • Obtain arboricultural advice if difficulties occur. Contact the Planning Case Officer before removing tree protection fencing.

Don't

  • Don’t remove or alter the protective fencing without prior agreement from us.
  • Don’t store building materials or equipment inside fenced off areas as it can kill the roots
  • Don’t pile soil, sand or other materials around the base of a tree as this can kill tree roots.
  • Don’t spill or mix concrete, mortar, fuel or any other potential pollutants around or near trees.
  • Don’t light fires or drive vehicles beneath the canopies of the trees on site.

If you have any doubts about what you are required to do to comply with planning conditions email planning@stalbans.gov.uk.