Anyone can apply for a felling licence but the licence will be issued in the name of the owner or the lease holder of the land (if their lease entitles them to fell trees).

Any felling carried out without either a licence or other permission is an offence, unless it is covered by an exemption.

A felling licence is usually valid for 2 years for clearfelling or 5 years for thinning.

Woodland owners or managers can consider a forest management plan for long-term felling proposals up to 10 years.

Check if you need a licence

Not all felling projects require a felling licence.

Check if you need a felling licence and find out what you need to consider before starting any felling work.

Apply for a felling licence

Complete the tree felling licence application form.

Your application will need to include:

  • a letter of authority from the landowner or lease holder if you're applying on behalf of someone else
  • a map (no smaller than 1:10,000 scale) for each felling site.

Before you mark the map(s), check that:

  • It is up-to-date, and of Ordnance survey origin
  • It is presented at a suitable scale preferably 1:10,000, 1:5,000 or 1:2,500
  • The map scale is shown, and relevant details are visible.
  • And it has at least two horizontal and two vertical Ordnance Survey grid lines, unless you have used NRW's interactive map

Marking the map:

  • clearly mark the area to be felled
  • Any colour used must not obliterate the base map detail
  • the grid reference of the area to be felled needs to be clearly shown
  • if the point of access to the area to be felled is not obvious, mark this on the map also
  • include a title, scale and legend to clearly identify what you have marked on the map
  • do not use a map from a previous application
  • it must be signed or authenticated and dated by the applicant

Applying to fell larch in winter

Larch trees are susceptible to a disease called Phytophthora ramorum which can spread easily, threatening other plants and species.

We inspect all areas of larch before approving a felling licence, however symptoms of p.ramorum are not visible in the winter.

If you are thinking of felling larch between 30 September to 1 April you need to consider one of the following options:

Get help with your application

We offer two hours of free advice to help you get your application right first time.

The two hours of free advice includes:

  • help with choosing the right application form to complete
  • help with finding the right guidance
  • showing you which best practices and industry standards to follow
  • showing you how to identify protected areas

If after the two hours of free advice you would like further help, we can provide more advice and help, but this will be chargeable.

If you would like two hours of free advice before you start your tree felling application, please contact us and we will get back to you.

How we deal with applications

  • An acknowledgement will be sent to you within 5 working days.
  • If required, a site visit will be arranged within 3 weeks.
  • Details of the application will be placed on the felling licence register (unless the application is for thinning only or mainly larch) for a period of 4 weeks - the felling licence cannot be issued until after this register period has expired.
  • We may also consult local authorities and other organisations.

How to appeal our decision

If your felling licence application is refused twice:

  • for the same area and same work proposals
  • and at least 3 years have passed between our first and subsequent refusal
  • or if you do not agree with the restocking conditions on your felling licence

then you can make a request to the Welsh ministers for our decision to be reviewed.

The minister may ask for an independent reference committee to provide advice before deciding whether to uphold or amend our decision.

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