Our tree surveyor had some surprising assistance on a recent arboricultural survey!

An alpaca-ful tree survey.


A little while ago our arboricultural consultant Joe spent the day doing a tree survey with some unlikely assistants; a herd of beautiful alpacas!

These savvy surveyors couldn’t help themselves; following Joe around checking he had done his root protection area calculations correctly and even finding their way into the final arboricultural report…

arboricultural method statement tree survey
tree survey arboricultural consultant assistant
tree survey arboricultural consultant assistant

We had been invited to the alpaca farm to undertake an Arboricultural Survey and provide a pre-planning arboricultural report to BS5837 standards. On this site, we were instructed to:


  • Assess all trees potentially within influencing distance of proposed development within the site.
  • Plot the trees on a Tree Constraints Plan and record the data in a Tree Data Schedule.
  • Provide an overview of the site and any management recommendations.
  • Determine if any of the trees are growing within a conservation area or are protected by a tree preservation order.
  • Provide guidance for architects or developers to enable them to understand and design within the existing tree constraints.

Green Infrastructure comes first.


We always advocate for the involvement of an arboricultural professional as early in a development project as possible; that way developers understand which trees are providing significant benefits to the site (and should therefore be retained), and which trees if any, could be removed due to the presence of disease or dangerous decay.

Once the proposed design had been finalised, we provided management recommendations which would enable the applicant to retain a Honey Locust tree whose root protection area (RPA) spanned the proposed new driveway location. The details of the tree protection measures required during the construction were included in the Arboricultural Method Statement – detail is shown in the image below.

arboricultural method statement tree survey
arboricultural method statement tree survey

In his summary, arboricultural consultant Joe Taylor wrote:


“T4 requires minimal pruning to create an adequate clearance from the proposal. No significant hard surfacing is proposed where soft ground currently exists over RPAs. However, if it becomes necessary to replace the existing driveway over the Root Protection Area of T4, any excavation shall be limited to the removal of the existing surface and the associated sub-base.”

This means that the contractors must take care not to interfere with or damage the tree roots when resurfacing the driveway. We often get contacted during the pre-planning stage by clients wishing to retain street trees, or trees just within a property boundary, during the construction of a driveway and extension. This is exactly what our arboricultural consultants specialise in and there are some fantastic surfacing options that enable the retention of trees where their roots would otherwise be damaged.

It was while our consultant Joe was considering the driveway, that some of its regular users showed up to demonstrate their significant compaction capabilities. Warning – this video contains a LOT of alpacas!


Local Authorities are likely to request an arboricultural report that contains an Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) and a site-specific Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS). You can find out more detail about each of the documents by clicking the text links above.

If you want to avoid delaying a decision about your planning application, ensure you correctly inform the Local Authorities of any trees present on the site and show that you have instructed a suitably qualified arboricultural consultant to produce a BS5837 arboricultural report. These days the Local Authority can easily tell if you have trees on your property through aerial imagery; so there is certainly no point in lying about it and there are serious penalties for undertaking works or removing certain trees without permission. We have the expertise to navigate all manner of construction situations regarding trees and look forward to working with you to find a situation that is appropriate for your trees and project budget.

tree survey arboricultural consultant assistant

If you are planning a development project and want advice about your existing green infrastructure and how to enhance biodiversity through the construction process, please do not hesitate to contact us using the form or telephone 08000 141 330.

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