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Environmental Impact Assessments

The Forestry Commission is responsible for administering the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999, as amended.

These regulations affect four “forestry” projects. These are:

  • Afforestation:  Planting new woods and forests.  This includes direct seeding or natural regeneration, planting Christmas trees or short rotation coppice.
  • Deforestation: Felling woodland to use the land for a different purpose.
  • Forest roads: The formation, alteration or maintenance of private ways on land used (or to be used) for forestry purposes. This includes roads within a forest or leading to one.
  • Forestry quarries: Quarrying to obtain materials required for forest road works on land that is used or will be used for forestry purposes or on land held or occupied with that land.

The regulations give each of these projects an area threshold.  Lower thresholds are given for projects that lie within sensitive areas e.g. National Park, AONB. The following pages provide detail of the Projects and Thresholds your project may fall within.  

Getting our Opinion
If you are planning to carry out work that could be classed as one of the four forestry projects you should either Notify us or ask for our Opinion, depending on the scale and location of the project. These formal processes are written into the Regulations. To help with our determination we require an EIA Enquiry form to be completed, along with a plan of the project and other relevant information that you have gathered. In some cases, we may ask for more information before we can make a decision.

If your forestry project is in relation to afforestation, small scale in nature and/or located within a low risk area you may simply be able to notify us of your proposal, using the EIA Enquiry Form, in order to get our decision. Please check the thresholds table for Afforestation projects to see if you will be eligible for this process, and which notification procedure would apply.

Grant applications for woodland creation
If you are applying for a Forestry Commission grant you may not be required to submit an EIA Enquiry Form, as the information provided in your grant application may meet these requirements

Applying for consent
If our opinion is that the proposed project is a relevant project under the regulations that will have a significant impact on the environment, you must get our consent for the work before you start. Your application will need to include an Environmental Statement.

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.

Last updated: 15th February 2018