Tree felling licences
Felling licences are issued by Natural Resources Wales to help protect the forests and woodlands of Wales and to prevent indiscriminate felling
Felling licence applications and Environment Impact Screening
We are processing felling licence applications and Environment Impact Screening Requests as normal. We aim to complete these in the standard timescales. If there are delays with your application we will keep you informed and may request additional time to make our determination.
We are not carrying out site visits for these applications unless there is an essential reason i.e. a significant environmental concern. If a site visit is required, we will follow the Government guidance on social distancing. We would not expect to meet site managers, but we will contact them in advance to ensure we can conduct it safely.
Our licensing staff are working from home and can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Before applying for a felling licence
Check the Exemptions list to see if you actually need one. If your felling operation falls within an exempt category, you can start felling straight away
Check with your local authority to see if there is a Tree Preservation Order in force or if the trees in question are in a Conservation Area. Please read the Other Legal Controls list
NRW offer a pre-application advice service to help you get your application right first time. The basic level provides 2 hours of free advice, including information on which forms to complete, guidance, best practice/industry standards and how to identify environmental sensitives.
If you need more in-depth help, we offer bespoke, charged, pre-application advice as part of our discretionary advice service.
Who can apply for a licence?
Anyone can apply for a Felling Licence but the licence must be issued in the name of the owner or lessee of the property. If you are a lessee, you must ensure that your lease entitles you to fell trees.
How to apply for a licence
You should follow the procedure below to apply for a Felling Licence:
Complete a Felling Licence application form
- To download the felling application form, you need to click on the link above and then 'save as'. This will save the application to a location of your choice ready for you to fill in, doing it this way means you do not need to scan and upload the application before you send it to us
- Include a signed and dated copy of a map showing the boundary of the proposed felling area with your application
- Include a letter of authority from the landowner or complete the letter of authority form if you are applying for a licence on behalf of someone else. This must be sent with your Felling Licence application
- Post the completed application form to: Tree Felling Licence, Natural Resources Wales, Maes y Ffynnon, Penrhosgarnedd, Bangor, LL57 2DW.
- Or email the completed application and supporting documents to email@example.com
How we deal with your application
The procedure for dealing with your application is as follows:
- An acknowledgement will be sent to you within three working days
- If required, a site visit will be arranged within three weeks
- Details of the application will be placed on the Public Register (unless the application is for thinning only) for a period of four weeks. Please note that the felling licence cannot be issued until after this register period has expired
- We may also consult local authorities and other organisations
Converting land for other uses
Applications to fell trees in order to convert land for other uses will be considered according to the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (1999). Applicants may have to apply separately for consent to carry out conversion work
European Protected Species
European protected species such as bats, dormouse, otter and great crested newt might be present on your site, these are a protected species under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.
Before planning your work, we recommend that you fill in a European protected species checklist for your own records. This will help you to consider how work might affect protected species.
It is an offence to deliberately kill or cause significant disturbance to a protected species. It is also an offence to damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place used by them.
The completed checklist will help you to provide some evidence that you have considered and protected wildlife, if your operations are later challenged. This is for your own records and is not part of your application.
A Felling Licence will normally include certain conditions. These conditions cover the following:
- Replanting the area with trees
- Maintaining those trees for a period not exceeding ten years
Applicants for Felling Licences are required to agree to these conditions. Licences to thin woodlands are granted unconditionally. There is no need to restock in such cases.
What if I want to sell my land?
A felling licence applies to the land, regardless of its owner. This means that the permission and conditions remain in force after the land is sold. If you sell your land, you must let Natural Resources Wales know the date it was sold and the new owner's details. You must also inform the new owner about the licence.
Penalties for felling without a licence
It is an offence to fell trees without a licence, unless an exemption applies. If you don’t have a Felling Licence, or if you fell the wrong trees, you may be prosecuted. In addition to a Felling Licence, you may need to obtain other legal permissions before carrying out any felling operations. See the Other Legal Controls for details.
Risk of prosecution
Everyone involved in the felling of trees (landowner, agent, timber merchant and/or contractor) must ensure that a licence has been issued before any felling work is carried out. All parties involved in illegal felling may be prosecuted.
If convicted, you may face a fine of up to £2,500 or twice the value of the trees, whichever is the greater.
When an owner or tenant is convicted of illegal felling, Natural Resources Wales can serve a Restocking Notice to ensure that the land in question is restocked - or to ensure the restocking of any other land as agreed during this process. The replacement trees must be maintained to acceptable standards for up to 10 years.
If the conditions of a Felling Licence or a Restocking Notice are not complied with, Natural Resources Wales may issue an Enforcement Notice to demand that action be taken to meet the conditions. Failure to comply with an Enforcement Notice is an offence and may result in a fine of up to £5,000.
If you need advice or help completing the Felling Licence application form, you can contact us in the following ways:
By phone: 0300 065 3000 and ask for a Permitting Officer (Forestry)
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org