British Standards for Tree Work

BS3998:2010 Tree Work Recommendations

This standard gives thorough recommendations for tree work, and guidance on the management of established trees (including soil care and tree felling) and overgrown hedges.

In brief it covers:

  • how to specify work, and what work should / should not be carried out
  • site management and safe tool / equipment storage
  • when work should be carried out
  • how work should be carried out, including crown thinning, lifting, pruning and felling
  • why and how to install bracing
  • management and removal of stumps

It also looks at the impact of work on an individual tree in relation to neighbouring trees.

BS 5837:2012 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – Recommendations

This British Standard is intended to encourage a harmonious relationship between tree planting / retention and nearby construction. It is applicable whether or not planning permission is required.

Feasibility: surveys and preliminary constraints

  • General
  • Topographical survey
  • Soil assessment
  • Tree survey
  • Tree categorization method
  • Root protection area (RPA)

Proposals: conception and design

  • General
  • Constraints posed by existing trees
  • Proximity of structures to trees
  • Arboricultural impact assessment
  • Tree protection plan
  • New planting design and associated landscape operations

Technical design

  • Arboricultural method statement
  • Barriers and ground protection
  • Site monitoring

Demolition and construction in proximity to existing trees

  • – General
  • – Avoiding physical damage to the roots during demolition or construction
  • – Tree protection during demolition
  • – Permanent hard surfacing within the RPA
  • – Special engineering for foundations within the


  • Subterranean construction within the RPA
  • Underground and above-ground utility apparatus
  • Site works, landscape operations and management
  • General
  • Drainage
  • Topsoil quality and amelioration
  • Soil compaction and remediation measures
  • Use of mulch
  • Hard surfaces
  • Use of herbicides
  • Tree management
Tree Surgeon Borders
Pruning a storm damaged tree in Edinburgh