You need a licence to fell trees. It is an offence to fell without one unless there's an exemption.
Felling licences quick guide
Step 1. Check for exemptions
- The exemptions section will help you judge if your felling is exempt from a licence.
- If no exemptions apply, you must apply for a licence.
- If you're exempt, you can continue. Always check by contacting Forestry Commission Scotland if you think you don't need one. There are penalties for felling without a licence.
Step 2. Check for local restrictions
- Use the Land Information Search to see if the area has constraints, like Special Protection Areas.
- Beware of badgers. Under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 it's an offence to interfere with a badger sett or harm the animals. You must consider this when planning to fell.
- Red Squirrels are a priority species on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. They're protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended.
Step 3. Check local planning controls
- Consult local planning authorities to see if legal controls exist in the area. These are things like Tree Preservation Orders, or trees within a conservation area.
- Controls may exist that apply to timber movement. If in doubt, check with our Plant Health Service (Tel: 0131 314 6414).
- When considering timber transport, use Agreed Routes Maps (ARMs). These are drawn up by Councils and Regional Timber Transport Groups. These will help you find the most suitable route for haulage. This keeps timber traffic off vulnerable roads . More details, including a link to the ARMs, are available on the Timber Transport Forum .
- Check other legal felling controls.
Step 4. Complete an application
- Complete the Felling licence (Scotland) application form (PDF 153k). This is also available as a Word document Felling licence (Scotland) (.doc 204K).
- Attach a signed and dated map showing the boundary of the proposed area. For full details of the process, see applying for a felling licence.
- The application form is also available to woodland owners/managers registered on myForest. Complete the information in the Data tab. This generates the application in the Outputs tab.
- IMPORTANT: EU timber regulations need detail of all individual species, if these account for more than 20% of the felled timber. For more details see the EU Timber Regulations page.
- See also: Tree Felling - Getting Permission (1.7MB) .
Map tools and datasets
- Land Information Search
A map-based tool that allows you to search for details about a chosen area of land.
- FCS Map Viewer
Explore a variety of Forestry Commission Scotland datasets on this map-based tool.
- Data Download
Access and download a wide range of Forestry Commission GIS datasets