Felling licences

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