Description of the trees
5. The appeal trees are both Corsican pines (Pinus nigra) standing on a raised bank on the right hand side of the plot. They have been designated numbers 773 and 774. Details are as follows
773 has an approximate height of 22m, and trunk diameter 73cm. It has a broad crown with many lateral and ascending limbs, more so on the southern side (photos. 1,10,11). It is a single stemmed tree, but a limb on the southern side ascends to the same height as the main stem, giving the appearance of a double stem. The trunk is straight and upright, and the crown appears luxuriant, dense and healthy. The original ground level upon which the tree stands (photo.8) has been excavated on two sides up to approximately 2m from the trunk, which is 4.5m from the comer of the slab (photo. 5).
774 has an approximate height of 18m and trunk diameter 47cm. It has a straight upright single trunk, but has no foliage at all on its eastern side due to suppression and competition from pine no.773. The crown is entirely biased west, and the leading shoot curves somewhat to the west due to the competition. Foliage however is dense and healthy in appearance. It also is on the elevated bank, with excavation on one side, and the trunk is 6m from the comer of the slab.
6. The two trees, especially no. 773 are extremely prominent in the locality, and are in striking contrast with other vegetation and the built environment, so have significant amenity value (photos.2,3,4,9). Although part of a stand of 5 pines, they are more prominent than the others, and their removal would constitute a very noticeable loss.
7. The trees on the site have not been given protection as recommended in BS5837:1991 "Trees in relation to construction". No protective fencing was in place at the time of the site visit, although a small area around the trees had been taped off. The appellant's agent particularly cites tree 773's position in relation to the building. It is correct that the recommended protective radial zone for a tree of this size is at least 6m. The measured distance from the trunk to the slab/foundations is 4.5m. There are a number of issues to be addressed in relation to this.
a) There has been excavation to within 2m of the trees.
b) BS5837 does allow for a reduction of the protective zone - in certain circumstances - on one side only, by up to one third provided that there is a corresponding increase on the opposite side.
c) The protective zone in BS5837 does not equate with tree to building distance.
d) Both tree health and stability are affected by works within the protective zone.
e) The recommended radial protective zone for tree 773 at 6m is at the outer limits of the recommendation for a tree over 700mm diameter, as at 750mm, the protective zone would be 8m.
All these points will be considered in this appraisal.
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