Guidance

Assess environmental impact before felling trees

Find out if you need an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before you fell trees to permanently remove woodland cover.

You may intend to fell trees to use land for a different purpose, for example, open habitat restoration.

The thresholds of projects for felling woodland to use the land for a different purpose are affected by the scale of the project and the sensitivity of the location in which tree felling is to take place. Use the table below to see which threshold your project falls into. You must apply for our opinion where your project requires EIA screening.

Tree felling thresholds table

Scale of project Sensitive area: not an AONB/NP Sensitive area: AONB/NP only Not within a sensitive area
1ha or more Full EIA screening Full EIA screening Full EIA screening
0.5ha to 1ha Full EIA screening Full EIA screening No EIA required
Less than 0.5ha Full EIA screening No EIA required No EIA required

Use the Land Information Search (LIS) and other online map browsers such as MAGIC.gov.uk to identify any designations or sensitivities that may be affected by the project. The sensitivities will determine the particular area threshold you must use.

Converting woodlands to open habitats

You also need to complete the Convert woodland to Open Habitats application form, providing information on why this project is important, and where, when required, you will plant compensatory woodland. See the Get consent to convert woodland to open habitat guide.

See the overview guidance on EIAs for general information about EIAs, or find out more about getting our opinion and consent.

If you’re applying for a grant to enable deforestation, you mustn’t start any work until you have received an EIA determination on your deforestation proposal.

Send your form to the Administrative Hub that covers your area.

Penalties

If you carry out work that would have required our consent and have not received it, or breach the conditions of a consent we have given, the regulations allow us to issue an Enforcement Notice, which will require you to rectify the breach of the regulations.

Failure to comply with an Enforcement Notice carries a penalty on conviction of an unlimited fine.

Further information

You can find out more about the process with the:

If you have any questions, you can contact your nearest Forestry Commission area office.

Appeals

You can make a complaint or appeal against a Forestry Commission decision.

Published 9 July 2018