Forest Management Plan pilot scheme

A Forest Management Plan can be used to authorise your thinning, felling and restocking proposals

A Forest Management Plan describes how you intend to sustainably manage your forest or woodland over a ten to twenty year period.

The plan sets out your management objectives, taking into account the woodland’s particular features, sensitivities and opportunities.

Forest Management Plans are currently being run as a pilot scheme until the end of December 2020.

Benefits of a Forest Management Plan

A Forest Management Plan provides:

  • felling permission for your proposed thinning, felling and restocking for the first five years of your plan and outline approval for the following five years
  • background for short-term grant applications, including expressions of interest to Welsh Government planting and management grant schemes or applications for Farming Connect sustainable woodland management plans. Read more about Farming Connect on the Business Wales website
  • evidence of sustainable forest management where your forest or woodland is certified under the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS) 

When you need a Forest Management Plan

A Forest Management Plan should always be considered when you are practising the sustainable management of woodland and a longer-term plan is required. This might include where you:

  • are restructuring your forest
  • intend to clear-fell woodland within an at risk or failing acid sensitive catchment
  • your management has the potential to affect European or UK protected sites and you need to consider mitigation or avoidance measures
  • are managing a long-term change in tree species diversity because your forest or woodland is on an area of restorable deep peat or has areas of PAWS (a plantation on an ancient woodland site)

Who can apply for a Forest Management Plan

You can apply for a Forest Management Plan if:

  • you own the land on which the trees are growing
  • if you are a lessee and your lease entitles you to fell the trees
  • you can demonstrate you have a legal right to fell the trees

An agent acting for the owner or lessee may apply to fell the trees but the felling permission which will accompany your approved forest management plan will be issued in the name of the owner or the lessee of the land.

If you require the consent of any other person to fell the trees, then it is your responsibility to obtain this and you must provide us with details.

Would a felling licence be more appropriate?

A felling licence is a simpler way of obtaining permission to fell, if:

  • your woodland is less than two hectares
  • your woodland does not have complexities requiring long-term management
  • your proposed operations are relatively straightforward and short-term

Stand-alone felling licences are usually valid for two years for clear-felling licences and five years for thinning licences. 

Apply for a felling licence

How to apply

Request the forest management plan guide and application forms by emailing fellinglicence@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk.

What to include in the application

Your application for a forest management plan will comprise the following:

  • the application form
  • a work programme
  • maps

You may also need to include supplementary forms and digital photographs with your application which will be added as schedules to your felling licence.

The separate guidance note contain more detail on each section of the form.

The amount of information you provide should reflect the size, complexity and sensitivity of your forest management unit and the nature and scale of the operations you are proposing over the period of your plan.