The Forestry Commission is urging anyone applying for a tree felling licence to make use of its new Felling Licence Online service. The recently launched service allows customers to apply for, track, manage and print their approved felling licences online. This is a major step forward in a process which previously relied on paper-based application forms being completed and sent back via post.
Becoming an online service brings the application process in line with other official government systems, and makes sure customers have greater visibility of what stage their application is at, at all times.
Tree felling without a licence, when one is required, is an offence. While not every tree felling project requires a licence it’s important to check if you need one, and to apply in good time. This includes tree felling for conservation reasons, even if you have an agri-environment grant agreement in place. It also covers hedges as well as woodlands, although gardens are exempt. A full list of exemptions can be found on GOV.UK along with access to the application service and guidance on how to use it.
The Forestry Commission tested the online service with external agents prior to its launch. Neil Chamberlain, Senior Forestry Consultant at Maydencroft Limited, was one of those who tested it and said:
I’ve been using the online felling licence system as a pilot user for a while now and it has significantly reduced the time it takes to submit licences. The online maps are great and the instant acknowledgements mean I know it has been received.
Since its launch in October the Forestry Commission has received over 300 applications online, which have either been approved or are going through the approval process.
To apply for a free felling licence online, you can do so at www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-online-for-a-felling-licence