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Building Control Advice - Working close to trees.

If a tree has been awarded a TPO it cannot be cut down, uprooted, topped or lopped, wilfully damaged or destroyed (including root damage) without the Council's prior permission.

Local Authority Building Control Logo Tree Preservation Orders

Basildon Council has the power to protect trees with amenity value by granting a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

These can be issued to individual trees, groups of trees, woodlands and trees planted as part of a planning condition.

For further information Planning - Tree preservation orders.

When carrying out building works close to trees, always:

  • Reinstate around exposed tree roots with sand and top soil;
  • Keep compaction to a minimum in the immediate tree root area;
  • Use sharp cutting/pruning tools when roots need to be cut;
  • Hand dig within a three metre radius of any tree trunk;
  • Reinstate tree pits with good quality top soil;
  • If exposure is likely to be for more than one hour cover roots with wet sacking.

When carrying out building works close to trees never:

  • Cut tree roots of greater diameter than the sizes given below without obtaining specialist advice:
    • (a)12mm (0.5 inch) where the trunk is under 150mm (6 inches) diameter.
    • (b)25mm (1 inch) where the trunk is over 150mm (6 inches) diameter.
  • Mix or store materials/equipment within 1 metre of a tree trunk;
  • Damage tree trunk/leaf canopy with machinery/construction traffic;
  • Leave tree roots exposed for longer than one hour without covering with wet sacking;
  • Use any powered machinery to excavate a trench within a 3 metre radius of any tree;
  • Chain equipment to a tree for security.

 Trees close to building foundations

There may be additional requirements under the Building Regulations for the depth of foundations and for protection to be provided to new foundations when constructing close to existing trees.

This is because of the effect on the soil by the removal of moisture.

Foundations may be required to be taken to a considerable depth depending upon the nature of the soil, the type of tree and distance from the building.

Advice will be given by the Building Control Surveyor at the commencement of the work.

Remember the same effect will be caused by the planting of new trees close to buildings and advice should be sought from a tree specialist as to the sort of precautions that should be taken.

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