In response to pest and disease outbreaks and public safety risks, the Forestry Commission has announced that it is taking steps to simplify part of the felling permit application process in certain circumstances.
A limited number of applications for felling permits directly related to the management of tree pests and diseases may be exempted from being placed on the register of public consultation before the felling of trees, when the Forestry Commission considers that the felling trees must be accelerated for paramount biosecurity. or the benefit of public safety.
The change will come into effect from October 22, 2021 and will be applied by the Forestry Commission to very specific situations, for example to prevent the spread of quarantine pests or diseases, such as Ips typographus (spruce bark beetle ), or to facilitate the rapid removal of ash trees infected with ash dieback and growing within fall distance of roads.
It does not affect the other conditions linked to the issue of felling authorizations, such as the need to restock.
The outcome of all logging permit applications will continue to be published in the Forestry Commission’s public registry of decisions, for public record.
“Tree cutting is a carefully controlled activity”
UK Plant Health Officer Professor Nicola Spence said:
“To protect trees and forest cover, tree felling is a carefully controlled activity.
“This change has been made to expedite a small number of applications requiring rapid action to address specific tree pests and diseases as part of our aggressive response to managing these threats.
Anyone involved in the felling of trees should always ensure that a felling permit or other authorizations are in place prior to any felling.
“It is an offense to fell trees without a felling permit where a permit would have been required, and anyone involved [the owner, agent and timber merchant or contractor] can be prosecuted.”