Why we can suspend or revoke your felling licence

Reasons for suspending or revoking a licence

We can suspend or revoke your felling licence if you have not complied or are not complying with the conditions of the licence and this risks significant harm to: 

  • natural beauty 
  • flora
  • fauna
  • geological or physiographical features
  • natural habitats 

This only applies to all felling licence applications that were received on or after 1 April 2024. 

More detailed information on suspending and revoking a felling licence can be found in the Guidance for Applicants and Licence Holders - conditions amend suspend revoke and compensation, this guidance should be read in conjunction with the information on this page.

Before suspending or revoking

We want to support you to comply with your licence. We will try to work with you first to address any breaches to the environmental conditions of your licence or any risks to the environment. 

Before considering suspending or revoking your licence we will: 

  • inform you that you're not complying with the conditions
  • inform you where there is a risk of significant harm to wildlife or the environment
  • invite you to discuss how you can address the issue
  • give you support, guidance, and advice to comply with the conditions of your licence or manage any risks, where appropriate
  • set out why these steps are the only options to stop anticipated environmental harm 
  • give you time to manage the site to comply with the conditions of the licence
  • consult our legal team, depending on the urgency of the risk to the environment

Suspending a licence

We will only suspend licences if:

  • an amendment to the conditions of your felling licence has not addressed the issue 
  • an accident or incident results in operations associated with your felling licence causing damage to the environment
  • you are or have failed to comply with the conditions of the tree felling licence
  • a new sensitivity is identified on your site that requires us to review the conditions of the licence
  • we cannot agree on a way forward
  • there are no other options available

While your licence is suspended we may: 

  • investigate breaches of the environmental conditions on the licence
  • try to agree actions for you to address any breaches or environmental risks 

We may lift the suspension before the agreed timeframe if you have brought the site back into compliance sooner than we agreed

You must stop all operations while a suspension notice is in place. It is an offence to carry out any operations in the area specified in the suspension notice.

Revoking a licence

We will revoke a felling licence if: 

  • you can't meet the amendment or suspension requirements
  • you can't resolve risks that we've identified 
  • there is a continuing risk of significant harm to the environment, such as pollution
  • you have continued not to comply with the conditions of your licence

It is an offence to fell trees if your licence for that area is revoked. 

Serving a notice

If we suspend or revoke your licence we will serve a notice.

The notice will include: 

  • the reason for suspending or revoking your licence
  • the licence condition that you've breached
  • an explanation of why this is the only available action to prevent environmental harm
  • the date the notice takes effect
  • steps you must take to rectify a breach or potential breach of licence conditions
  • a deadline for you to take the steps set out in the suspension notice
  • any activities you can do on the site to ensure you follow health and safety requirements
  • details of how to appeal

Appealing against a decision

Appeal a decision to suspend or revoke your licence:

Forestry Act 1967: appeals

Forestry Act 1967: rights and grounds for appeal

The Forestry Act 1967 and felling licences

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