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Applying for a licence

The Forestry Commission controls tree felling by issuing licences. The table below outlines the application process.

1.  Who can apply for a licence?

Anyone can apply for a felling licence but it must be issued in the name of the owner or lessee of the property. Lessees must ensure that their lease entitles them to fell trees. In some circumstances, we will issue a licence to someone who is not the owner or lessee but has sufficient legal interest in the land. This means they must be able to fell the trees without the need to get permission from anyone else. We will accept applications from/issue licences to a business or organisation. Such applications must include details of a named individual able to sign any restocking conditions. This person will be an employee of the business or organisation or an agent with sufficient authority Authorised Agent (see below). 

2.  Check for land designations

Use the Land Information Search (LIS) to identify any land designations that may affect the felling licence application.

3.  Forestry Commission considers the application under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) Regulations 1999

The Forestry Commission will consider applications to fell trees to convert the land to another land use under these regulations. Applicants may have to apply separately for consent to carry out the work.

4.  Apply for a licence 

  • Complete an application form (application forms are available as a pdf - see below). If you are applying to fell trees on a Site of Special Scientific Interest you should also complete a 'Supplementary Notice of Operations within a Site of Special Scientific Interest' so that we can issue Natural England's consent for the work at the same time as the felling licence.
  • Send a completed application form to the Forestry Commission.
  • Use the Contact Us button in the top banner to get the address of the nearest Forestry Commission office or to use e-mail.
  • Two signed and dated copies of a map showing the boundary of the proposals must be sent with the application.
  • You must send an Agent Authority Form with your application if you are:

    • An agent working for a client

      And will be:

    • Either signing restocking conditions or applying for a felling licence with out restocking in order to change land use (de-forestation)

However, you need only do this once for each client you are representing.

5.  Apply to fell the trees as part of a grant scheme application

A separate felling licence application is not required but if you are applying to fell trees on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, you should also complete the 'Supplementary Notice of Operations within a Site of Special Scientific Interest'. This will allow us to issue Natural England's consent for the work at the same time as the felling licence. You must send an Agent Authority form with your application if you are an agent working for a client and will sign the grant agreement on behalf of them.

6.  The Forestry Commission deals with the application 

  • A site visit will be set up within three weeks, if required
  • Details of the application will be placed on the Register of New Planting and Felling (unless it is for thinning only)
  • Application details will remain on the Register for four weeks
  • Local authorities and other organisations may also be consulted

Note: A felling licence cannot be issued until after the Register period expires.An acknowledgement will be sent within three days.

7.  Conditions on a licence

Conditions will normally be included on the licence to:

  • Restock the area with trees; and
  • Maintain these trees for a period not exceeding ten years

Felling licence applicants must agree to these conditions.  The Government has a general policy against felling woodland without restocking.  Licences to thin woodlands are granted unconditionally (without the need to restock).

Selling land with a felling licence
A felling licence is transferable to a new land owner as long as there is no change to the felling or restocking set out in the felling licence. Any restocking conditions that apply to the land after a felling licence remain in force after the land is sold.  Those who sell land with a felling licence must advise the Forestry Commission and the purchaser accordingly.

Movement of timber
Movement of timber may require a Plant Passport under Plant Health legislation.


Last updated: 28th July 2018