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EIA Forestry project thresholds

Find out whether your forestry project requires an Environmental Impact Assessment

Projects, thresholds and locations

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Forestry ‘projects’ are based on a combination of area thresholds and their location within or outside sensitive areas.

For each forestry project, there will be an area threshold. If the area of land on which the project is proposed is greater than the area threshold, an EIA may be required.

Sensitive and non-sensitive areas

Separate area thresholds exist for land in sensitive and non-sensitive areas.

Area thresholds for the different types of project

Type of project: Afforestation

Threshold where any part of the land is in a sensitive area: 2 hectares where the land is in a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or a National Scenic Area (NSA). There is no threshold in other sensitive areas.

Threshold where no part of the land is in a sensitive area: 5 hectares

Type of project: Deforestation

Threshold where any part of the land is in a sensitive area: 0.5 hectare where the land is in a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or a National Scenic Area (NSA). There is no threshold in other sensitive areas.

Threshold where no part of the land is in a sensitive area: 1 hectare

Type of project: Forest Roads

Threshold where any part of the land is in a sensitive area: No threshold

Threshold where no part of the land is in a sensitive area: 1 hectare

Type of project: Forest Quarries

Threshold where any part of the land is in a sensitive area: No threshold

Threshold where no part of the land is in a sensitive area: 1 hectare

Important note:

If any work has been carried out in an area adjacent to the project in the previous five years, this area must also be counted towards the threshold. Please contact us for further advice:

Definition of sensitive areas

Sensitive areas are defined according to the following criteria:

  • Land noted under subsection (1) in section 28 (areas of special scientific interest) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • Land to which subsection (3) in section 29 (nature conservancy orders) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 applies
  • A National Park within the definition of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
  • The Norfolk Broads
  • A property appearing on the World Heritage List, kept under article 11(2) of the 1972 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage
  • A scheduled monument within the definition of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979
  • An area of outstanding natural beauty designated as such by an order made by the Countryside Agency, with regard to England, or the Countryside Council for Wales, with regard to Wales, and duly confirmed under section 87 (designation of areas of outstanding natural beauty) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
  • An area designated as a Natural Heritage Area by a direction made by the Secretary of State or the Scottish Ministers under section 6(2) of the Natural Heritage (Scotland) Act 1991(d) or as a National Scenic Area by a direction made by the Secretary of State under section 262C of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972(e)
  • A European site within the definition of regulation 8 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 2017.

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