Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is responsible for administering the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (Scotland) Regulations 1999.

1. What is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?

Some types of forestry project are likely to have a significant impact on the environment.  For such projects, FCS might have to give formal consent for the work to take place.  An Environmental Impact Assessment is used to determine whether consent should be given for work to go ahead.

The types of forestry work that an EIA can apply to are:

  • Afforestation: planting new woods and forests, including 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; and

  • 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.

2. Area thresholds

The four project types each carry an area threshold.   If your project is of one of these types then you should check the area thresholds that apply to that type of work.  

If the area covered by your project is over the threshold for that type of project, then you must apply for a formal opinion from FCS to see if our consent is required before you can begin work.
Sensitive areas, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, have low thresholds.

You should use the Determination Enquiry Form (below) to apply for a formal opinion.  You will be asked to supply several pieces of information to help us form a decision, for example a map and brief description of the project.

3. Applying for consent

If our opinion is that the proposed project will have a significant impact on the environment, you must apply for consent from FCS before you begin the project.

Your application for consent must include an Environmental Statement.

4. Summary of the EIA process

The document Environmental Impact Assessment of Forestry Projects (PDF 1.1Mb) provides more details.  Alternatively, use the links on the right hand side for more information on the individual parts of the EIA process.

5. Penalties

If you carry out work that would have required FCS consent and have not applied for it, or if you breach the conditions of a consent we have already given, then the regulations allow us to issue an Enforcement Notice to remedy the situation.