Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Forestry grants and licences

In Scotland if you are looking for general information relating to forestry, the availability of grants and the licences you may need, you should contact the Forestry Commission.

In Northern Ireland you should contact the Forest Service, an agency of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARDNI).

These organisations protect the UK's forests and encourage good forestry practice by:

  • setting standards
  • giving advice and information
  • offering grants for expanding, regenerating and managing forests and woodlands
  • administering the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations for forestry operations
  • issuing licences for felling operations.

Forestry Commission

Northern Ireland Forest Service

UK Forestry Standard

The Forestry Commission and Forest Service have produced the UK Forestry Standard, which sets out criteria and standards for sustainable woodland management.

You must comply with the UK Forestry Standard to obtain approval under EIA regulations and to qualify for forestry grant schemes and felling licences.

You must also follow the Forestry Commission's good practice guidelines.

Forestry Commission: UK Forestry Standard (Adobe PDF - 974KB)

Forestry Commission: Forests and climate change guidelines

Forestry Commission: Forests and water

Environmental Impact Assessment

You may need to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) if your operations involve planting, road construction or felling. This depends on the scale and location of the work. The forestry organisations provide more information on EIAs.

Northern Ireland - Forest Service: Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations

Scotland - Forestry Commission: Environmental Impact Assessment


The Forestry Commission and Northern Ireland Forest Service provide up-to-date information on grants and schemes for forestry and woodland.

Northern Ireland - Forest Service: Forestry grant information

Scotland - Forestry Commission: Grants and licences

Felling trees

In Scotland you will need a licence or an approved forestry plan to fell trees.

Forestry Commission Scotland: Felling licences

In Northern Ireland, owners of private woodlands of 0.2 hectares or more will need a licence to fell trees, and will be required to re-establish the woodland under an approved felling management plan. (Certain exemptions apply).The Forest Service will administer felling licence applications through its Felling Licence Branch, which will also be available to assist with queries and advice.

Forest Service Northern Ireland

Tree preservation orders

Where a tree preservation order (TPO) has been made on an individual tree, or group of trees, you will be committing an offence if you cut down or carry out any work on the trees without permission. TPOs can require the replanting of trees or woodland which have been felled in the course of your forestry operations, or which have been felled unlawfully.

In Scotland you should contact your local planning authority to check whether there are any TPOs in force where you are working. In Northern Ireland you should contact your Local Council.

UK Clearing House Mechanism for Biodiversity: Tree protection

Additional resources


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