Place Services was contacted in October 2018 to provide arboricultural advice with regards to Essex County Council owned vegetation in Shenfield Place, Brentwood, Essex, in association with Morrison Utility Services. The proposed works were to replace existing deteriorating mains gas pipes and the vegetation mainly consisted of Atlantic Blue Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’) Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) Silver Birch (Betula pendula) and Ash (Fraxinus excelsior). The majority of the gas mains ran adjacent to existing pathways or within grass verges along the street within the root protection areas (RPAs) of existing trees.
An initial tree condition assessment was carried out in line with British Standard 5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – Recommendations’. All trees within Shenfield Place were surveyed with the condition of the tree noted and their estimated contribution remaining (<10, 10+, 20+, 40+ years).
As all of the trees within Shenfield Place are covered under a group Tree Preservation Order (TPO), it was important to identify the correct mitigation measures, as the replacement gas pipes were going to be within the RPAs of most of the trees and the work was likely to cause them damage that could affect their stability and longevity. To allow for the replacement mains gas pipes to be installed, it was proposed to use machine excavation within the RPAs of most trees on site, with concern that damage would be caused to tree roots during this process. Other excavation methods were explored, but were deemed unsuitable or not practical for this project.
Minor facilitation pruning was recommended over the footpath to raise the low canopies of the trees to prevent damage from the machines used to excavate the existing pathway and to create sufficient working room. Under arboricultural supervision, excavators were permitted to be used, but only on hard surfaces and not on bare ground, to prevent any unnecessary compaction. As a result, no trees needed to be removed during this process and so no mitigation planting was required at this site. A harmonious outcome was achieved providing professional advice with suitable mitigation and supervision in place to prevent any unnecessary damage caused to the surrounding vegetation.