Trees in Relation to Planning Applications and Development

Arboricultural Method Statement

A Method Statement is a document detailing how a particular process will be carried out. In the arboricultural industry, such a statement is commonly used to describe how construction works can be carried out close to trees without causing damage to the crown or the root system. It should include details on how the works will be managed and how the trees will be adequately protected during the works.

Ribble Valley Borough Council will request an Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) as a condition of planning consent in cases where construction is due to take place in close proximity to important trees, or within the root protection zone (RPZ) of a tree due to be retained. The Council expects all Arboricultural Method Statements to be completed in accordance with the current British Standard 5837, and all identified tree work must be carried out in accordance with the current British Standard 3998.

The AMS must contain a timetable indicating when and how specific works adjacent to trees will be carried out.  This will cover items such as the installation of protective fencing, hand excavation within tree protection zones, and the use of boarding to avoid compaction, amongst other things.

Engineering specification sheets should be included for items such as the design of protective fencing, special surfaces, methods of trenching etc. Site supervision by an arboricultural consultant, or the Council's Countryside Officer may be stipulated for some or all of the operations identified as requiring an AMS.

Items to include within the method statement:

  • Schedule of tree surgery works (prior to and upon completion of construction works).
  • Tree root protection zones (clearly indicated on a scale plan, including particulars of fencing and signage) 
  • Full details of surface changes and methods of construction
  • Full details of level changes and methods of construction
  • Trenching methods
  • Location of bonfires, chemicals storage etc.
  • Contingency plan (chemical spillage, collision, emergency access to the root protection zones) 
  • Post construction landscaping near trees (methods, locations, scale plans)
  • Tree planting (storage of trees, site preparation) 
  • Contact listing (council, arboricultural consultant, architect, site manager)

Additionally a method statement should include copies of all relevant site plans and a tree survey schedule.