Check if you need a felling licence

If you’re planning to carry out tree felling on your land, you must make sure you have the correct licence before you start any work.

If you are:

  • the owner of the trees
  • an agent
  • a timber merchant or contractor

You must make sure that the correct licence has been issued before any felling work can take place.

It is an offence to cut down some trees without a licence.

When you don’t need a felling licence

You don’t need a felling licence

  • if you’re cutting down trees in a garden, an orchard, a churchyard, or a public open space (such as public gardens)
  • to carry out lopping and topping such as pollarding, pruning, crown lifting or crown reduction
  • to fell less than five cubic metres in a calendar quarter
  • to fell a dangerous tree. There must be a real and immediate danger, rather than a perceived danger
  • if you have planning permission
  • to comply with an Act of Parliament, such as a notice served by a highway authority
  • if you are a utility company carrying out work on or near gas, electricity, or water services
  • if we have issued a Statutory Plant Health Notice

If your trees are 1.3 metres from the ground and have the following diameters, you also don’t need a felling licence:

  • 8 cm or less
  • 10 cm or less for thinning
  • 15 cm or less for cutting coppice

Forest management plan

If you’re planning to manage your forest or woodland over a long period of time, you might want to apply for a forest management plan instead.

A forest management plan is for long-term felling over a ten to twenty-year period. The plan saves you applying for a felling licence every time you need to fell trees on your land.

Penalties for cutting down trees without a licence

It is an offence to cut down some trees without a licence. It is also an offence to sell timber that has been illegal cut down.

If convicted of illegal tree felling, we can issue an unlimited fine.

Apply for a felling licence

Find out how to apply for a felling licence.

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