Existing trees and their protection The successful retention of suitable trees is a benchmark of sustainable development. Trees of good quality and condition are an asset to a site and significantly increase its attractiveness and value. They add a sense of character, maturity and provide valuable screening, shelter and privacy and will often have a useful life expectancy beyond the life of new buildings. Dublin City Council will consider the protection of existing trees when granting planning permission for developments and will seek to ensure maximum retention, preservation and management of important trees, groups of trees, and hedges.
The Dublin City Tree Strategy 2016 provides the vision and direction for longterm planning, planting, protection and maintenance of trees, hedgerows and woodlands within Dublin city, and is a material consideration in the determination of planning applications and other development.
A tree survey must be submitted where there are trees within a proposed planning application site, or on land adjacent to an application site that could influence or be affected by the development. Information will be required on which trees are to be retained and on the means of protecting these trees during construction works. Where development is proposed it is essential that existing trees are considered from the very earliest stages of design and prior to an application for planning permission being submitted. Root systems, stems and canopies, with allowance for future movement and growth, need to be taken into account in all projects.
The following criteria shall be taken into account by Dublin City Council in assessing planning applications on sites where there are significant individual trees or groups/ lines of trees, in order to inform decisions either to protect and integrate trees into the scheme, or to permit their removal:
- Habitat/ecological value of the trees and their condition
- Uniqueness/rarity of species
- Contribution to any historical setting
- Significance of the trees in framing or defining views
- Visual and amenity contribution to streetscape.
The design of vehicular entrances that impact on adjacent trees will need to be considered to avoid conflicts with street trees. Where a conflict is unavoidable and where a tree, located on-street, requires removal to facilitate a new or widened vehicular entrance and cannot be conveniently relocated within the public domain, then a financial contribution will be required in lieu.
Existing trees which make a positive contribution to the character of a conservation area and which provide a setting for the city’s architectural heritage will be considered for preservation.
Financial securities for trees: where trees and hedgerows are to be retained, the Council will require a developer to lodge a financial security to cover any damage caused to them either accidentally or otherwise as a result of non-compliance with agreed/specified on-site tree-protection measures. Types of securities include a cash deposit, an insurance bond or such other liquid asset as may be agreed between a developer and the planning authority (see also Chapter 13). The security will be returned on completion of the development once it is established that the trees/hedgerows are in a satisfactory condition and have not been unnecessarily damaged by development works. Where damage occurs, the sum deducted from the tree security (or bond/other financial security) will be calculated in accordance with a recognised tree valuation system (e.g. Helliwell, CAVAT).
Tree survey and tree protection information
For applications where trees might be affected, the application should be accompanied by the information below, prepared by a suitably qualified arboriculturist in accordance with British Standard 5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – Recommendations’ (this information may be helpful in pre-application consultations):
- Tree survey
- Tree retention/removal plan
- Tree protection plan
- Details of retained trees and Root
Protection Areas (RPA) shown on the proposed layout
- Arboricultural impact assessment
- Arboricultural method statement
Depending on the site, some or all of the following may also be required:
- Details of existing and proposed finish levels
- Details for all proposed services within the RPA
- Schedule of works to retained trees
- Arboricultural site monitoring schedule
- A strategic hard and soft landscape design including species and location of new tree planting
- Tree and Landscape Management Plan
Adequate fencing prior to commencement of construction works is essential to prevent damage to the root zone of retained trees.
All tree works associated with development must be carried out in accordance with British Standard BS 3998:2010 Tree Work Recommendations.
Dublin City Council will encourage and promote tree planting in the planning and design of private and public developments. Trees are considered an integral feature of the space around new buildings and adequate space (above and below ground) should be provided to allow new tree planting to be incorporated successfully. New tree planting should be planned, designed, sourced, planted and managed in accordance with ‘BS 8545:2014 Trees: from nursery to independence in the landscape – Recommendations’. New planting proposals should take account of the context within which a tree is to be planted and plant appropriate tree species for the location.