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What Does A Tree Survey Cost

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  • Posted date:
  • 31-08-2021
What Does A Tree Survey Cost

Do you need to find out: what does a tree survey cost in the UK? We explore what a BS5837 tree survey is and the tree survey process. Understanding these services will help you know what to expect in a tree survey price.

What is a BS5837 Tree Survey?

When a BS5837 tree survey has been carried out, you will be given recommendations regarding the appropriate ways to retain the tree when nearby developments occur. 

Ultimately they are only needed where developments are planned for a site where trees stand. Your Local Planning Authority will decide what needs to be done for these trees when considering your planning application. 

These tree surveys are universally applied, and whenever you plan to develop a site, building or piece of land that has trees standing on or near it, a BS5837 needs to be carried out. 

While this may sound annoying, these tree surveys have a real and important purpose to them. Not only do they aim to preserve the local environment and wildlife on the site, but they can also improve the safety of your development, ensuring that no nearby trees could affect your work. 

Trees can pose a potential threat to certain buildings, putting the structural integrity of your development at risk. 

Besides damaging the building, potentially hazardous trees could lower the value of your property in the future. Therefore, you must arrange for a qualified professional to come and conduct a tree survey before you start any development on any building or site. 

Why is a tree survey required?

There are many reasons why a tree survey could be required on your proposed developments. Professional tree care services, such as ourselves, have experience working on various sites to carry them out. 

We can produce thoroughly detailed tree surveys on all properties, from private residential homes to commercial sites and public properties. 

What does a tree survey cost?

The main purpose of these surveys is to establish the legal status of any trees within the specified area and monitor any disease or damage that may already be affecting them. 

Once your tree surveyor has provided you with this information, you are free to use it to support any planning permission applications you have made or want to make. 

Having detailed, professionally gathered information on the greenery present on your site allows you to make better decisions about what to do with it. It will also help you conform to the Wildlife and Countryside Act, for example, by warning you if any of your trees are protected species and should not be cut down.

Again, if you plan any development, such as a house extension, or have designs to construct a new building as an architect or landowner, and there are trees close to the proposed site, these will have to undergo a tree survey. Typically they are needed for trees directly on the site or within 12 metres of its boundary. 

Why is a tree survey required?

Tree care specialists, such as ourselves, have many years of experience conducting tree surveys, and we can help you discover the possible ecological impact of your proposed developments. 

Understanding the limitations of your development can help your architect or designer fine-tune their plans and create a design that can work with the surrounding landscape. 

Tree surveys can also help to keep your site safe for those living and working on it. Potential hazards, such as disease or unsound trees that could fall in high winds, can be identified and felled. 

Ultimately, the best use of a professional tree survey is to ensure the planning authorities in the UK are fully aware of the environmental state of the site regarding trees. This will help them make a decision that benefits everyone and make approval of your plans far more likely. 

Types of tree survey

Given the wide range of uses for tree surveys, there is also a wide range of survey types. 

Each type looks to survey the trees on your site with different goals in mind, whether looking for structural hazards, safety hazards or simply to get a more detailed plan of the overall development site. 

Here we have listed a few different types of tree surveys to understand better what they are used for. 

 Trees Planning / Construction (BS5837)

When you present plans that propose work in the close vicinity of a tree, there is a potential risk for you to either damage the tree or for your building to be damaged by the tree. 

Even if the trees on your site are only on its boundary, you will need professional arboriculture advice on how you should carry out your planning permission.

Environmental preservation is not the only concern of a tree survey. Regarding your planning permission application, closely adhering to the BS5837 survey will allow your local authority or council to understand your proposed ideas better. 

Having these surveys conducted professionally will also help your planning application along, cutting down on delays. 

 Large-Scale Developments

Before you begin any work on a large-scale development, you must conduct an accurate tree survey of the site that clearly documents all of the trees present. 

Before you prepare the proposed site's layout, a thorough report from a tree surveying specialist must be completed and issued to the relevant authorities. 

The report should detail the dimensions of all the trees found on your sites, such as their height, stem diameter and the height and spread of the crown. 

The surveyor will also look at the trees' age class, structural integrity, and overall condition. All this information will help provide an accurate report about the trees on your site and propose suggestions for any that need particular care or felling. 

 Health Safety Tree Surveys

Another type of survey you may need to perform focuses on the health and safety aspects of the trees on your site. These surveys will consider the trees' visual and structural condition, proposing any necessary risk management and tree protection steps you may need to take. 

Any tree owner is legally responsible for a duty of care towards all those who visit their land under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984. Tree safety is an integral part of this.

To comply with this act, landowners need to demonstrate that every safety measure has been taken regarding their trees. They must show that their trees have undergone regular inspections from professional tree care specialists. 

Even if you only have a single tree on your property, having a professional surveyor identify and propose steps to mitigate any hazards is vital.

But this raises the question of how often you should have your trees inspected? Essentially, if you notice any changes or potential hazards regarding your trees, you should have them inspected immediately. 

As a general rule, you should have all of the trees on your property surveyed every three years unless told specifically otherwise by a previous tree care specialist. It may also be beneficial to inspect your trees after extreme weather, such as storms or strong winds.

Health Safety Tree Surveys

 Damage from Trees / Vegetation

Trees are also capable of damaging tough surfaces, such as paving or tarmac driveways. They can also pose a significant threat to lighter structures, such as walls and buildings. 

Damage caused by trees or vegetation can come from direct contact with the roots, stem or branches. This damage can also be indirect, such as the draining of water from underneath shrinkable soil. 

A survey may be required to determine the potential for any trees or vegetation to cause such damage, in which case the professional surveyor will provide advice on how to limit the extent of the damage. 

Other times, these surveys will be carried out to determine the extent of the damage already incurred. In this second case, the surveyor can work alongside loss adjusters or structural engineers to ensure that the structures affected by the trees or vegetation are noted and rectified. 


Damage from Trees / Vegetation

Receiving the correct advice at the right time ensures that your site can remain safe through the felling or pruning of hazardous trees or vegetation. Also, professional assessment of any damage already done to existing properties, homes or buildings allows you to remedy them quickly and effectively. 

Health & Safety Tree Surveys

 Tree Reports for Mortgage / Insurance

Professional arboricultural and tree care specialists can also provide tree surveys and reports for homeowners or potential buyers regarding their mortgage or insurance. Considering any effect surrounding trees might have on a building, such as subsidence, will help you make insurance applications. Additionally, any potential risk may affect the value of the property, and therefore your mortgage.

Many of these considerations coincide with the health and safety risk reports discussed above. Tree surveys can make you aware of any potential hazards the surrounding trees may pose to your property. 

Additionally, a qualified arborist can suggest prudent steps to help mitigate these risks and make your property safer. True tree care specialists can perform these duties quickly, creating a survey report that your relevant authorities or advisors can use.

Trees are also capable of damaging tough surfaces, such as paving or tarmac driveways. They can also pose a significant threat to lighter structures, such as walls and buildings. 

Damage caused by trees or vegetation can come from direct contact with the roots, stem or branches. This damage can also be indirect, such as the draining of water from underneath shrinkable soil. 

A survey may be required to determine the potential for any trees or vegetation to cause such damage, in which case the professional surveyor will provide advice on how to limit the extent of the damage. 

Other times, these surveys will be carried out to determine the extent of the damage already incurred. 

In this second case, the surveyor can work alongside loss adjusters or structural engineers to ensure that the structures affected by the trees or vegetation are noted and rectified. 


Receiving the correct advice at the right time ensures that your site can remain safe through the felling or pruning of hazardous trees or vegetation. Also, professional assessment of any damage already done to existing properties, homes or buildings allows you to remedy them quickly and effectively. 

 Tree Preservation Orders & Conservation Areas

Aside from the health and safety benefits of having any trees on your site undergo a professional survey and receiving expert advice on managing your tree stock, arboricultural services can also help you with any protected trees or conservation notices applicable to your property. 

Suppose some of your trees are subject to TPOs (Tree Preservation Orders) or stand within an area designated as a Conservation Area. In that case, you will need your council or local authority's permission before you do anything with them.

You can check whether your trees are subject to a TPO or stand within a Conservation Area through your local council's website. 

Either this or you can directly contact the Tree Officer of your local authority. Hiring the expertise of a qualified arboricultural specialist can help here also. 

Having a thorough tree survey conducted before contacting your local authority helps you understand how to manage your trees and why such statutory limitations and protections have been placed on your trees. 

The Tree Survey Process

The first step in a tree survey is for a member of our arboricultural team to ask you what you plan to do with your trees, how you plan to do it and in which location you plan to do it? 

If you already have a detailed site plan, this will help enormously, and we will be able to speed through the process for you. 

Now and again, certain jobs present more demanding challenges than others, or our capacity to provide a surveying service may be overbooked. However, it will take between two and three days to complete the survey and create a report as a general rule. 

How much does a tree survey cost?

For most sites that we survey, developments and properties generally have fewer than 100 trees standing within their boundaries. 

With this in mind, most tree care specialist will structure their prices for BS5837 surveys, and any other survey, regarding how many trees you have. For example, for a development site with up to 100 trees, a typical price for a tree survey and report could be around £350 + VAT. 

To surmise, it is best to contact your local tree surgeon on tree removal costs, felling, stump removal, pruning, the cost to hire and per day fees. 

While you can gather a rough estimate from certain factors, ultimately, it would be best to hire a professional to survey the property or contact your local tree removal company to provide an accurate quote after assessment.


Are you looking for tree surgery in Northampton, Milton Keynes or Bedford? Get in touch with our experienced tree expert today to discus any of the tree services below.