Did you know it is now an offence to fell trees without a licence if an exemption does not apply? The government recently introduced unlimited fines to deter illegal tree felling in England, following concern over possible rising levels of illegal felling, particularly ahead of development proposals being submitted.
Felling is legally controlled and generally requires a licence to be issued before work starts. There is an exemption allowing landowners to fell up to 5 cubic metres of growing trees in any calendar quarter on a property without a licence, as long as no more than 2 cubic metres of this is sold. For example, a tree 10m in height with a diameter of 30cm around the midpoint of the trunk is estimated to equate to just over 0.7 cubic metres.
Other exemptions apply, including allowing for lopping and topping, and for small trees of less than 8cm in diameter – measured at 1.3m from the ground – to be removed. Nuisance or dangerous trees can also be felled without a licence, as can fruit trees. If relying on one of the exemptions, it is the landowner’s responsibility to prove that it applies.
Everyone involved in the felling of trees (the owner, agent and timber merchant or contractor) must ensure that a licence has been issued before any felling is carried out, unless they are certain that one of the exemptions apply. If there’s no licence or other valid permission, or if the wrong trees are felled, anyone involved can be prosecuted.
You’re advised to engage with neighbours to make them aware of your tree felling plans. For more information about felling licences, why you need one, and how to get one, read the attached booklet by clicking the link below.
The Government advice on this can be accessed by clicking ths link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tree-felling-overview#tree-felling-licence