September 14, 2021 / by Danny Mavis

Trees are some of the most beautiful aspects of nature. They are the basis of the ecosystem and it’s vital to protect and preserve them. Trees bring many benefits, from giving us oxygen to storing carbon, stabilising the soil and more. Therefore, it’s important to promote the retention of trees whenever possible.
Maintaining tree cover is very important in the fight against climate change. The trees that are part of our urban landscape and countryside have an important role to play. Whether they are environmental, economic or social benefits, well-structured trees add to the character of an area and its actual financial value. That’s why in the early stage of any building project, the parties involved must consider an Arboricultural Impact Assessment Report, so they will not risk the integrity of the area’s natural environment in the process. 

What Is An Arboricultural Report?


If you are proposing to carry out construction or development on a site that has trees, then you will need an arboricultural impact assessment. It’s a technical report often requested by town planners to assess the potential impact of a proposed building project on adjacent trees and ensure the safety of the area’s trees before, during and after any construction activity. It details the effect that the proposal will have on the trees on the site and highlights any foreseeable problems from a planning point of view and suggests amendments that may be considered necessary.

When Do You Need It and Why?


It’s usually required for an arboricultural report to be submitted at the same time as a planning application if there are any trees within approximately 15m of a proposed extension or development. You can get an Arboricultural Impact Assessment Report to assess the impact a proposed development may have on the trees, report the current state and status of your tree stock and determine the future management requirements.

An arboricultural report provides information on the species, dimensions, the quality of the trees within your site and what measures need to be adopted when working around them. It contains detailed plans and information on trees that will be removed or retained and protected throughout the development project. 

When working around trees, it’s very important to make sure that their health isn’t compromised. An arboricultural impact assessment can help the construction team adopt all the necessary measures for ensuring the protection of the trees. It lists all the impacts and consequences of working around trees and helps the development team plan their work strategy without causing harm to the trees.

Damage to the trees or their root systems can easily happen and unfortunately, it’s very often irreparable. The reason for getting an arboricultural impact assessment is to identify and mitigate any issues that might arise before they become potentially dangerous and costly. 

Above ground, the risks to trees on your site are obvious, like broken branches and trunk wounds. But the less obvious and potentially more damaging impacts are below ground. An arboricultural report will ensure that the rooting system of the trees doesn’t sustain serious disturbance and damage which can lead to their decline and in some cases, death. An arboricultural report takes into account all activities that may impact the trees to ensure that the project will not be jeopardised or delayed.

An arboricultural report will identify valuable trees in close proximity and balance those against the potentially damaging construction activities that will take place. Some of these activities include excavations within the tree’s rooting area, sustained damage from heavy construction vehicles, positioning of buildings too close to a tree’s roots or branches and more. 

In order to ensure the health and safety of trees during and after the construction phase of development, the arboricultural report details all the specific tree protection measures that are required for each job. There are many measures to choose from and the purpose of the arboricultural impact assessment is to identify the most suitable ones for your job, so you can put them into place swiftly and effectively.

Who Can Write It?

Arboricultural Impact Assessment Reports

Arboricultural Impact Assessment Reports are produced by AQF (Australian Qualifications Framework) Level 5 arborists. If you submit the DA (development application) without an arboricultural report, the consent authority may decline the application causing delays and frustration on your part. 

When an experienced arborist is engaged in the design stage, projects are less likely to be delayed due to issues around trees and can save you time and money in the long run as a thorough understanding of Local Council and State Legislation can ensure the report will meet all the necessary requirements and aid the validation of your planning application.

An arboricultural impact assessment can be prepared once the architectural, services, survey and landscape plans have been finalised, so an accurate assessment of impacts can be calculated. Usually, it takes around 14 days for a Level 5 arborist to inspect the site and prepare the arboricultural report. 
Make sure to look for accreditations and references before hiring an arboriculturalist. You can check their reputation in the market by going through the feedback available online. Also, consider the tools and equipment they are using as the effectiveness and efficiency of the final result depends on it.