Felling licence exemptions

There are five categories of felling licence exemption:

  • Location
  • Type of tree work
  • Volume and diameter
  • Other permissions
  • Legal and statutory requirements

Further details are provided in the table below.

Please contact Forestry Commission Scotland before felling to confirm that a licence is not necessary.

Exemption categoryExemption details
Location

You do not need a licence to fell trees in:

  • a garden
  • an orchard
  • a churchyard or
  • a designated open space (Commons Act 1899)
Type of tree work

You do not need a licence to carry out:

  • lopping
  • topping
  • pruning
  • pollarding
Volume and diameter

You do not need a licence:

  • To fell less than 5 cubic metres in a calendar quarter (Please note that you cannot sell more than 2 cubic metres in a calendar quarter);
  • For trees that have the following diameters when measured 1.3 metres from the ground are:
    • 8 cm or less
    • 10 cm or less for thinnings
    • 15cm or less for cutting coppice
Other permissions

You do not need a licence if you have a current permission under:

  • An approved Dedication Scheme plan; or
  • Planning permission (granted under the Town and Country Planning Act).
Legal and statutory requirements

You do not need a licence if you need to fell trees:

  • that are dangerous or to prevent a nuisance;
  • to prevent the spread of a pest or disease in accordance with a statutory notice served by a Forestry Commission Plant Health Officer;
  • to comply with an Act of Parliament; or
  • to enable you to carry out work as a statutory undertaker.