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Felling Licenses

In England, Scotland and Wales the Forestry Commission (FC) is responsible for the general control of felling.

A felling licence is required for the felling of trees however there are a number of exceptions:

  • Trees with a diameter less than 8cm
  • Cases where the quantity of timber to be felled is under 5 cubic metres
  • Felling to prevent danger
  • Felling as part of an approved planning application
  • Fruit trees or trees standing in an orchard, garden, churchyard or public open space
  • Felling by utilities, eg electricity and water companies
  • Trees in inner London boroughs
  • Trees that may affect the operation of aircraft

Plus, no felling licence is needed if the site is covered by a Woodland Grant Scheme or Scottish forestry grant scheme.

To approve a felling licence that could lead to loss of ancient woodland is contrary to FC policy.
They are in position to place a fine for the illegal felling of a tree.

Unfortunately there is no felling licence system in Northern Ireland and this leaves a large gap in woodland protection.
The Forestry Service Northern Ireland does operate a system of forestry grants which encourages sustainable management of woodlands.

Stop felling by:

  • Commenting on planning applications by landowners which includes felling trees
  • Check with FC if a felling licence has been applied for and oppose it
  • If you find illegal felling report it to the FC

Contact details for the forestry bodies:

Forestry Commission England Tel: 01223 314546

Forestry Commission Scotland Tel: 0131 334 0303

Forestry Commission Wales Tel: 01970 625866

Forestry Service Northern Ireland Tel: 02890 765391

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The woodland Trust websiste has lots more info