SB1: Scrub control and felling diseased trees

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the scrub control and felling diseased trees item.

How much will be paid

Payment rates

Method of removal Stem diameter Percentage covered per ha Payment per ha
Machine cut Less than 7cm Under 50% £260
Machine cut Less than 7cm 50% and over £520
Machine cut 7cm and above Under 50% £520
Machine cut 7cm and above 50% and over £1,040
Manual cut Not applicable Under 50% £980
Manual cut Not applicable 50% and over £1,680

Where to use this item

Available for Higher Tier


  • to control or manage scrub with the agreement of Natural England (NE) or the Forestry Commission (FC)
  • to remove immature trees that could spread disease and that cannot be economically felled with the agreement of the FC

How this item will benefit the environment

It will restore or maintain priority habitats and protect historic or archaeological features. It will prevent disease spreading from infected sites to the wider environment.


Agreement holders are likely to need to agree:

  • when to carry out the work
  • whether to cut by hand or machine
  • what to do with stumps
  • how to dispose of cut material
  • how to control regrowth and injurious weeds
  • how to fell all diseased trees within an agreed area
  • to remove non-symptomatic trees to reduce the risk of disease (as agreed with the adviser)
  • what biosecurity measures to use to avoid transferring disease to other sites

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • receipted invoices or bank statements where a receipted invoice is unavailable
  • records of when the scrub control was carried out
  • a record of any pesticide or herbicide treatments, including dates and locations
  • please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the Higher Tier manual for more detail

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • photographs of the completed work

Applicants must get any relevant consents before applying for this item. This may include:

  • consent from NE to use the item on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
  • consent from Historic England to use the item on a Scheduled Monument
  • a felling licence from the Forestry Commission

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • a woodland management plan indicating the need for scrub control, if the scrub control takes place in woodland - this does not apply to diseased trees
  • an Implementation Plan or Feasibility Study, if applicable, setting out the need for scrub control
  • photographs of the trees/scrub, before works start
  • a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN) or letter from the FC or Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) confirming infection on the site, if one has been issued

The detailed requirements for this item will be tailored to the Higher Tier site. Applicants should discuss and agree these requirements with their adviser.

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this item.

Definitions of scrub, diseased trees and immature trees

Scrub means any woody shrubs, including European gorse, bramble and young trees. It does not include dwarf or western gorse, so this item cannot be used to control those species.

To be eligible under this grant, diseased trees are defined as immature larch infected with Phytophthora ramorum subject to a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN).

An immature tree is one that is up to 25 years old.

When to use this item

With this item, cut scrub or trees manually or with a machine. Manual removal is carried out on foot, with a clearing saw or chainsaw, and machine cutting from a cab, by a tractor fitted with a flail.

This item can be used:

  • if scrub is encroaching on to species-rich grassland
  • around archaeological sites or historic features
  • if species that depend on managed scrub are present, for example turtle dove and brown hairstreak
  • within woodland to create permanent or temporary open areas

How to remove scrub

To remove scrub:

  • cut scrub to ground level
  • don’t disturb roots or leave protruding stems
  • use item TE12 - Stump grinding
  • keep the site free of scrub for the rest of the agreement

What to do with diseased trees

If applicants have an SPHN for diseased trees, they must follow the guidance in the SPHN. If there isn’t an SPHN, fell all infected trees in the contract area and follow the FC’s biosecurity guidance.

This item can be used on the same area as item TE12 - Stump grinding

Further information

Find out more about biosecurity in the FC’s Biosecurity Guide.

See the Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 10 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated for 2017 applications.
  2. Information updated for applications in 2016
  3. First published.