Street Design, Poppy Close, Oxford

A key element is this traditional residential estate was the working of the design around a large existing tree. Its good to see that after a number of years it appears to doing well and is the focus of the entire road !

Wilsham are used to designing highway and drainage works in areas with tree protection orders and securing permissions.


Trees are an important feature in our urban and rural landscapes and make a significant contribution to the character and quality of our roads. They play an important role in providing screening, filtering traffic noise and absorbing dust and other pollutants. Trees on or next to the highway can be severely damaged by construction and maintenance work to roads and footways. However, damage can be limited, and in many cases prevented, by carefull civil engineering design. Our designs, if followed on site, protect existing trees within new projects.
Wherever possible, our policy is to retain, preserve and protect existing healthy trees when designing a new road. A large number of trees are lost each year due to poor civil engineering design and construction. We understand why it is important that trees with significant value and potential are retained. It is also critical to enable a buildable solution. Structurally sound new highways can often not be constructed "no dig". Adequate foundations for the structure of roads is critical.
It is better to retain healthy, semi-mature and mature specimens with significant life potential rather than retain over-mature specimens with limited life expectancy. Protection measures must always be thorough. You should put them in place before the works begin and maintain them until the works are finished. Inadequate or half-hearted protection measures are a waste of money and can lead to significant damage, which may only become apparent months or years after the works are completed. A damaged or deteriorating tree can present a significant danger to users of the highway.
We look to work closely with the project and Council arboriculturalist along with Council Highway Team to secure an acceptable arrangement.
We usually follow the following process:
  • Arrange or advise for an arboriculturalist to carry out a tree survey before the design stage.
  • Design the scheme to retain high-category and moderate-category trees and, where possible, low-category trees.
  • Show protection zones from the worksite using appropriate protective fencing.
  • Do not carry out any excavations or alter soil levels within a tree’s protection zone.
  • Consult with a forestry officer if works need to take place in a protection zone before works begin.
  • Advise for an approved arboricultural contractor to carry out recommended tree surgery before work begins.
  • Advise the contractor follows all appropriate codes of practice and specific recommendations when working within protection zones.
  • Advise the contractor to carry out appropriate measures after work has finished to reinstate and improve the site (for example, soil aeration and mulching) and avoid practices such as cultivation and fertilising.
  • Request that construction materials or toxic substances (including road salt) are not used.
  • Request that the contractor does not operate any vehicles or plant within a tree’s protection zone.
  • Maximise the use of permeable surfaces over disturbed ground within a tree’s protection zone or elseware where agreement of the highways team can be secured.
  • Maximise the distance between new houses close to retained trees, particularly where there is little possibility of them existing together.

Should your development have any problems relating to trees and civil works and you require advise, do not hesitate to contact.