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Applying for opinion

The Forestry Commission will give an opinion on whether or not you, the applicant, must apply for consent to carry out any work.  Below is the process for getting our opinion. If your forestry project is an afforestation project between 2 and 50 hectares, it may be eligible for either Prior Basic or Full Notification. Please see our Prior Basic and Full Notification page for further information. 

1. Draw your proposal together

When planning your project you should use your own forestry experience, or seek advice from a professional forestry agent, and should engage with local and statutory stakeholders who may have an interest in the land on which your project will lie, as required. Gather information from on the site and from as many other sources as possible and use that information to design a UK Forestry Standard compliant forestry project. You should consider liaising with Natural England and the Environment Agency at this stage, and submit their comments along with your application.

2. Complete EIA Opinion Request Form

Once your project proposal has been drawn together, complete the relevant EIA Enquiry form (from the projects and thresholds pages) to get our opinion on whether you need our consent to carry out your proposed work.  

3. Send your details to The Forestry Commission

Send your completed form with the following information/documentation to your local Forestry Commission office:  

  • a map identifying the area and showing the extent of the project. (This should be a clear Ordnance Survey map at a scale of 1:10,000 or 1:2,500).
  • information on the characteristics of the project and its likely significant effects on the environment as specified in Appendix 2 of the “Environmental Impact Assessment of Forestry Projects (Screening)” guidance document.
  • any other information or evidence that you have gathered and is relevant, e.g. species maps, plans, photographs etc., including a description of any features of the project or measures envisaged to avoid or prevent what might otherwise have been significant adverse effects on the environment. You should also wish to liaise with Natural England and the Environment Agency at this stage, and submit their comments along with your application.

If the Forestry Commission reasonably requires further information in order to form an opinion, we may request this from the applicant. If, at any time, we become aware of proposals that require our consent, we may give our opinion to the person whom we believe should have asked us.

4. When an opinion decision can be expected

The Forestry Commission will only begin to form an opinion when all the relevant information has been received.  If the Forestry Commission has asked  you for more information, the process may take longer. We will normally form an opinion within 28 days of receiving all the relevant information, but in exceptional circumstances we may take longer than this period to form an opinion. If this is the case, we will let you know in writing.

5. If consent is NOT required

If Forestry Commission consent is not required then an application for grant aid/felling licence can proceed and/or the work can be started.

6. If consent IS required

If Forestry Commission consent for the work is required, an application for consent must be made to get a decision about whether or not the work can proceed.  Your application must include an environmental statement.  For detailed guidance see Applying for Consent.

Decisions last for a period of five years or any shorter period specified.

Last updated: 31st January 2018