Do I need a licence to cut down trees?

A query from a worried lady today regarding cutting down a dangerous-looking tree over her drive. With a local man killed by a falling tree last night one can understand her concern.
Does she need a licence to cut it down if it does not have a TPO (tree preservation order). What are the situations in which she would not need a licence? (ie Exemptions)
In answer the guidelines from the Forestry Commission are helpful and clear, so I reproduce them here:

Felling Licence exemptions can be grouped in the following way:

  • Location
  • Type of tree work
  • Volume and diameter
  • Other permissions
  • Legal and statutory requirements
Use the information below to check whether a licence is required. 
Please contact the Forestry Commission before felling to check that 
a licence is not necessary.  
To find out the address of your nearest Forestry Commission office click here.

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
    • 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
  • 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 quarantine pest or disease in accordance with a notice served by a Forestry Commission Plant Health Officer  
  • to comply with an Act of Parliament
  • to enable you to carry out work as a statutory undertaker

Forms and booklets.jpg
Tree Felling - Getting Permission (1748k - pdf)
Charter standard statement for felling licensing  (201k - pdf)
Felling licence application forms :
England  (86k - pdf)
Scotland (86k - pdf)
Wales  (80k - pdf)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Marian that is a relief!


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