Trees are a valuable natural resource that are increasingly under threat from construction in the urban environment. As well as the obvious benefits to the environment of maintaining healthy trees, they also provide aesthetic and resource advantages to any development.
Problems arise when construction takes place in areas around tree root zones; compaction of soils and damage to soil structure from vehicular traffic can prevent valuable water and air from reaching the roots, starving the tree of vital resources and leaving it open to decay. Alternatively excavation within the root zone can physically damage the root structure, affecting the health and life expectancy of the tree.
The protection of trees during construction is now often written into planning consent for new developments in accordance with BS 5837: ‘Trees in Relation to Construction: Recommendations’ (2005) which advises tree root protection areas within which construction should not be permitted.
Arboricultural Practice Note 12: Driveways Close to Trees (APN12) gives guidance on above ground, no dig construction techniques in and around trees and advocates the use of geocellular blanket systems, such as Abweb TRP.