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Felling licences exemptions

Felling Licence exemptions can be grouped in the following way:

  • Location
  • Type of tree work
  • Volume and diameter
  • Other permissions
  • Legal and statutory requirements

Use the information below to check whether a licence is required. Please contact Forestry Commission England before felling to check that a licence is not necessary.  Use the Contact Us button on the top banner to find out the address of the nearest Forestry Commission office or to send us an e-mail.  


You do not need a licence to fell trees in:

  • a garden
  • an orchard
  • a churchyard
  • a designated open space ( such as land registered under the Commons Act 1899, village greens, public parks and public gardens)
Type of Tree Work

You do not need a licence to carry out:

  • lopping 
  • topping 
  • pruning
  • pollarding
Volume and Diameter

You do not need a licence:

  • to fell less than 5 cubic metres in a calendar quarter (Please note that you cannot sell more than 2 cubic metres in a calendar quarter)
  • for trees that have the following diameters when measured 1.3 metres from the ground
    • 8 cm or less 
    • 10 cm or less for thinnings
    • 15cm or less for cutting coppice

The Timber Volume Calculator (PDF 69kb) can help you work out the volume of timber in question.

Other Permissions

You do not need a licence if you have a current permission under: 

  • an approved Dedication Scheme plan
  • planning permission (granted under the Town and Country Planning Act)
Legal and Statutory Requirements

You do not need a licence:

  • for trees that are dangerous or cause a nuisance
    See page 3, paragraph 6 of  Tree Felling - Getting Permission (PDF 1748kb)
  • to prevent the spread of a quarantine pest or disease in accordance with a notice served by a Forestry Commission Plant Health Officer  
  • to comply with an Act of Parliament
  • to undertake your duties as a statutory service provider (gas, water, electricity)
Last updated: 9th August 2016