Felling Prosecutions since 2022: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Information requested

Please tell me the number of prosecutions Scottish Forestry have undertaken in relation to ancient and native tree felling between 2022 and the present date. Please provide details for each case.


Scottish Forestry does not directly undertake prosecutions.

Under the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 (‘the Act’), to fell a tree in Scotland, that felling must either be exempt as specified in the Forestry (Exemptions) (Scotland) Regulations 2019, or a permission, notice or direction on those trees must have been issued by Scottish Forestry.

In circumstances where a tree has been felled that doesn’t fall within the exemptions; or there is no permission, notice or direction in place; or the felling is not in accordance with such a permission/notice/direction, Scottish Forestry will investigate a potential offence of unauthorised felling under Section 23 of the Act.

If, in the course of our investigations, Scottish Forestry finds satisfactory evidence that an offence has been committed, we have various powers under the Act to take actions against either the landowner, or the person that felled the tree.

The actions Scottish Forestry can take include issuing enforcement notices, which is our most used route in dealing with unauthorised felling. This will usually require preparing the site, restocking (replanting), and continued maintenance to return the tree cover on a site.

Scottish Forestry are a Specialist Reporting Agency and can also submit a report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for the offence of unauthorised felling. It is then their role to assess the report and make a decision on whether to pursue prosecution based on the offence and evidence gathered.

Since 2022, we have submitted one report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for the offence of unauthorised felling on a site that contained some native trees. In that case they took the decision not to prosecute and we instead reverted to our enforcement powers to ensure forest cover was returned.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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