Relating to Woodlands
A number of regulations apply to woodlands and their management which
owners/managers need to be aware of. Ignorance of certain requirements may result in
prosecution. Regulations can change fairly frequently. It is a good idea to check the
relevant sources directly.
Forestry Commission website
Booklet on Felling Regulations
Felling Licence Exceptions
|Tree Preservation Orders
Anyone wishing to fell trees
in Britain may need permission from the Forestry Commission (FC). The FC deal with
applications for felling licences at local FC Conservancy Offices. The process of applying
for a licence will take at least ten weeks.
|Everyone involved in felling
trees, whether actually doing the work or engaging others to do it, must ensure that a
licence has been issued prior to starting, unless one of the exceptions applies. This
includes owners, contractors and subcontractors. If the tree(s) concerned are covered by a
Tree Preservation Order or are in a Conservation Area, then permission may also be needed
from other organizations for any proposed felling. This can apply even if you do not need
a felling licence.
Failure to have the correct licence may
result in the prosecution of anyone involved in the unauthorized felling. A licence
carries an expiry date after which felling must cease, even if all the agreed felling has
not yet been accomplished. A new licence then has to be applied for. If in any doubt about
the need for permission or a licence, enquire at your local FC office. List of
applied as of October 2002. Check the FC website for any subsequent changes to the
regulations which may have occurred.
Felling that does not
In any calendar quarter (1st
January - 31st March, 1st April - 30th June, 1st July - 30th September, 1st October - 31st
December) 5 cubic metres can be felled without a licence,
provided no more than 2 cubic metres are sold.
The following are also currently exempt from the need for licences:
- Lopping and topping. This usually includes activities such as tree
surgery, pruning and pollarding.
- Felling included in an approved Dedication Plan or approved under the
Woodland Grant Scheme before 1st April 1998.
- Felling fruit trees, or trees growing in a garden, orchard,
churchyard or designated public open space.
- Felling trees which when measured 1.3m from the ground;
Have a diameter of 8cm or less.
If thinnings, have a diameter of 10cm or less.
If coppice, have a diameter of 15cm or less.
- Felling trees immediately required for development authorized by
planning permission, or to allow vital access for suppliers of essential services such as
gas, water and electricity.
- Felling necessary for the removal of danger or abatement of a
nuisance (for example where a third party may be threatened).
- Felling necessary to prevent the spread of a quarantine pest or
disease, in accordance with a notice served by an FC Plant Health Officer.
- Felling in compliance with any obligation imposed by or under an Act
Tree Preservation Orders
Tree Preservation Orders (TPO's) are made by local planning
authorities (usually the local council) to protect valued individual trees or areas of
woodland. The presence of a TPO covering a site prevents the felling, lopping, topping or
uprooting of trees in the area without permission from the planning authority.
Before felling, lopping, topping or uprooting any tree within a
Conservation Area, permission must be sought from the local authority. Unless one of the
exceptions applies, you will in any case need to apply for a felling licence from the
Forestry commission. Failure to declare knowledge of the presence of TPO's or Conservation
Area status in an application which results in a licence being issued, renders the licence
invalid. You will commit an offence by cutting down the trees concerned.
Tree felling that will affect Sites of Special Scientific Interest
(SSSI's) will either need to be agreed with English Nature, Scottish Natural Heritage, or
the Countryside Council for Wales, depending on tree location.
Restrictions on the movement of timber are imposed by the Forestry
Commission in order to control the spread of pests and diseases. Check with your local FC
Plant Health Officer. List of
Woodland Management Contents