Regulatory Law

Tree Felling without a Licence Solicitors

Are you being investigated or prosecuted by the Forestry Commission (FC) for felling a tree without a licence?

Lucinda Dore Tree Felling Without a Licence Solicitors can assist you or your business if you are facing an investigation or prosecution by the Forestry Commission.

The legislation and offences that the Forestry Commission (FC) are responsible for enforcing are very complex and constantly evolving. With such a provision that encompasses a full range of enforcement and sanctioning tools it can be daunting and costly. That is why its so important that businesses and individuals seek legal advice as soon as possible to deal promptly with any incidents that can compromise not only the company’s reputation, but also can have serious implications that may give rise to a criminal prosecution.
Lucinda Dore offers specialist legal advice a robust representation for businesses and/or individuals being investigated or prosecuted for offences that fall under the Forestry Act 1967 which are in the majority strict liability offences.

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The Penalties.

The Law

A felling licence from the Forestry Commission is required to fell most trees. Felling trees without a licence, where one would have been required, is an offence.
As a regulatory body, The Forestry Commission (FC) is responsible for regulation and enforcement of a multitude of legislation covering different regulatory areas, including the following legislation regarding tree felling:• Forestry Act 1967 section 17 (1) - Tree felling without the authority of a Felling Licence• Forestry Act 1967 section 24 (3) – Failure to comply with a section 24 Enforcement Notice• Forestry Act 1967 section 30 (5) – Failure to provide information of interest in land or providing a misstatement of interest in land• Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) 1999 regulation 22 – Failure to comply with a regulation 20 Enforcement Notice• The Official Controls (Plant Health and Genetically Modified Organisms) (England) Regulations 2019 regulation39 – Failure to comply with a condition or provision of a Notice, Authorisation, Permit or Direction made under the regulations


Section 17(1) Forestry Act 1967Tree felling without the authority of a felling licence or other valid reason as set out in Section 9 Forestry Act. Summary conviction only. Penalty on conviction: a fine (Unlimited).
“Anyone who fells a tree without the authority of a felling licence, the case being one in which section 9(1) of this Act applies so as to require such a licence, shall be guilty of an offence”.
The standard criminal and offence specific responses are:• formal caution• prosecution
Other Non-Statutory responses are:• advice• warning• stop felling letter
No Civil Sanctions are available for this offence
Section 7(4) Forestry Act 1967Obstruction of any person authorised by the Commissioners to enter land to kill and take rabbits, hares, or vermin where they are likely to damage trees or tree plants. Summary conviction only. Penalty on conviction: Level 2 fine.
The standard criminal and offence specific responses are:• formal caution• prosecution
Other Non-Statutory responses are:• advice• warning
No Civil Sanctions are available for this offence.

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Regulatory Law

Lucinda Dore solicitors are specialist regulatory lawyers in Tree Felling investigations and prosecutions by the Forestry Commission. Based in West Sussex and London, serving clients throughout the UK

Our expert solicitors know your questions. We have the answers. We can help you.

How can we help you?

We can represent you if you have been asked to attend an interview under caution by the Forestry Commission or represent you at court if you or your company have received a summons to attend court.
Most criminal offences place the burden of proof upon the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that an offence occurred. However, some offences contain a reverse burden, where the burden falls upon the defendant to prove their innocence. This is the case in relation to some offences that the Forestry Commission (FC) is responsible for enforcing.

The offences contained within the Forestry Act 1967 are mainly classified as “strict liability offences”. For these offences, only the act of committing the offence needs to be established (actus reus). The state of mind (mens rea), or culpability, of the defendant is irrelevant. This means it is irrelevant whether the person/company investigated intended to commit the offence, were reckless as to whether they committed the offence or were negligent as to whether they committed the offence.
In cases of illegal felling (S9 and S17 of the Forestry Act 1967) the burden of proof is on the suspect to prove that a felling licence was not required at the time the felling took place. The Forestry Commission (FC) just needs to prove that the criminal act occurred, that is to say that the trees were felled, and that there was no valid felling licence in place at the time.
Our solicitors can advise you and help you to build a robust representation in response to regulatory investigations or prosecutions by the Forestry Commission.
Although there is a presumption under Section 9(1) Forestry Act (1967) that any felling of living trees will require a felling licence, there are some exemptions which may include felling small quantities of trees (5 metres cubed) within set timescales, or when felling in specific areas (for example: orchards or gardens). We can help you argue an exception for the cases this apply to.

Furthermore, we can you build defend cases where the FC has established aggravating circumstances such as recklessness and financial gain.

Protect your business reputation and book a consultation with us today, we are here to help.