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BS 5837 Tree Surveys

Pricing & Timescales

A BS 5837 tree survey is necessary when your development has the potential to impact trees. This is the first step relating to identifying arboricultural constraints and opportunities in relation to your planning application.

We aim to visits sites within 5-10 days of appointment.

Price will vary depending on size/scope.

Brindle and Green specialises in undertaking tree surveys in line with the requirements British Standard BS 5837

A tree survey will be requested by your local planning authority whenever trees have the potential to be impacted by future development. Our experienced and reliable surveyors undertake tree surveys nationwide under the guidance of British Standard 5837 (Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – Recommendations).

During the survey, a highly detailed schedule of information will be collected about the site’s trees, including the species present, their crown spreads, stem diameters, remaining life expectancy, physiological condition and structural condition. Offsite trees that have the potential to be impacted are also surveyed. We will assign each tree to a BS 5837 category (more detail provided below) and will tailor specific management recommendations for individual trees, where appropriate. The data can be plotted onto a topographical site survey or licensed OS map using specialist, hand-held GPS equipment.

Following the survey, the tree data will be presented in a tree constraints plan, which clearly shows the tree locations, categories, crown spreads, shading arcs and root protection areas. Crucially, we share this constraints plan with your design team in CAD format, to help inform the layout and highlight any arboricultural constraints. We have experience working on a diverse range of projects, including small and large-scale residential and commercial planning applications, and our consultants will help you to understand the arboricultural constraints and opportunities presented by the site. We will offer professional advice during the design process and provide consultation on the emerging layout.

Typically, your local planning authority will require an Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) report to evaluate the relationship between the development and trees. Click here for more information on AIA reports.


As part of a BS 5837 survey, trees will be assigned to one of four categories: Category A, Category B, Category C and Category U. This categorisation is one of the most important pieces of information collected during the survey, as it reflects the quality of trees onsite and their retention status. The categories are explained below:

Category A  – trees of high quality that are a particularly good example of their species. Category A trees include those with particular visual importance, or those with significant cultural or conservation value (such as veteran trees). They have an estimated remaining life expectancy of at least 40 years.

Category B – trees of moderate quality that have been downgraded from Category A due to impaired condition, or because they lack the ‘special quality’ needed for the Category A designation. Category B trees still make a significant contribution to the landscape of an area and have an estimated remaining life expectancy of at least 20 years.

Category C – trees of low quality, including young trees (below 150mm diameter) or those of limited merit or highly impaired condition. Category C trees offer only low or transient landscape benefits and have an estimated remaining life expectancy of at least 10 years.

Category U – trees that are ultimately unsuitable for retention. Category U trees may have serious, irremediable structural defects, may be diseased or dead, or may be showing signs of immediate and irreversible overall decline. They have an estimated remaining life expectancy of less than 10 years and are typically recommended for removal irrespective of development.